helpmespock
helpmespock
Joined: Mar 6, 2010
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GialmereAyecarumbaJoeman
March 26th, 2019 at 5:11:46 PM permalink
Travel

The 401 trip into Pearson Airport in Toronto was smooth and uneventful. That is about the only time I like driving on the 401 because that Sunday morning of March Break has nobody on the roads so you can set the cruise control and never have to touch it. My understanding is that the 401 around Toronto is among the worst driving in the world.

I had pre-paid for garage parking because the GTAA was expecting high volumes of travelers for March Break and they wanted to know who was coming to avoid disappointment. By the time we got there Sunday morning just before 9AM the lot was full. We had to accept complimentary valet parking as the alternative, but at no extra charge. My wife wasn’t keen on leaving them her new car, but we basically had no other alternative. This wrinkle and leaving a little late meant that we were tight on time at the airport. It took extra time to check our bag and my golf clubs too. We got through security within 10 minutes, but the lineup for US Customs Pre-Clearance was very long partly because they didn’t have enough agents on duty. We lined up for Customs at 9:45AM for a 10:30AM flight. My wife was very antsy in line. Luckily they added a half dozen more agents to check people through at about 9:55AM and that meant that we were through customs by 10:10AM. We quickly got to our gate and we were in the last 5 people to get on the plane.

The flight to Las Vegas was OK except that Air Canada Rouge now runs their entertainment system through Wi-Fi and the system doesn’t work that well. My wife was constantly having to re-boot the movie she was watching on her iPad and her two hour movie took the entire flight to finish.

Our next bit of adversity was that we got on the wrong trams at McCarran and ended up at Terminal 1 baggage claim instead of the baggage side of Terminal 3. There is no easy way to re-trace your steps unfortunately. You can’t get back to a tram without re-clearing security. There is a shuttle bus but that line was probably 3 buses worth of people long so we cheated and grabbed a cab back to Terminal 3 and grabbed our bags. That took an hour to sort out.

Coming home didn’t start out great either. My wife wanted to grab a 70th birthday present for her mother on our Thursday morning return and we were supposed to have the rental car back to the airport at 11AM, but the Fashion Show Mall opens at 10AM. We weren’t super quick at the mall and we still had to gas up the car too. Luckily things fell into place and we had the car back by 11:10AM and they didn’t charge us any extra on the return.

The flight back had a fair amount of turbulence at the beginning and the end of the flight. Also Pearson was very busy and we were put into a holding pattern for about 45 minutes before we were able to land. We also had to walk the tarmac to shuttle buses because there wasn’t a gate available to us. A huge lineup formed for Canada Customs too, but overall we were able to get through in 25 minutes as they had all the booths open plus 3 standing agents that would check you through. It took forever for our bags to come to the carousel too which meant that we didn’t get back to our house until after 11PM that Thursday night.

Weather

We landed in Las Vegas with a lot of cloud cover with the temperature hovering at 15C. We walked the strip up to the Cromwell where they had $0.25 JoB and we both felt a few drops of rain hit us. That’s unusual for us on our Las Vegas trips. We also detoured through the casinos to stay out of the wind and cold.

Monday didn’t have rain, but it did feature a fair amount of cloud cover and wind with temperatures around 17C.

Tuesday was a split day weather-wise. I was golfing at Paiute’s Wolf course with a 7:33AM tee time and it was 9C when we teed off. Ugh! The fellows I was playing with had multiple layers, toques, and gloves. However by noon most of the cloud cover had disappeared and when the sun was hitting you it was quite pleasant. It hit a high of 17C that day too.

Wednesday was clear, but cool and windy with a high of 13C. This meant that my wife put the kibosh on our plans to go to Valley of Fire state park.

Thursday morning was clear and cool as well as we headed out of Las Vegas.

The weather was a bit of a disappointment for us. I’m used to having mostly clear skies with temperatures in the low 20C range. Two years ago we didn’t have a day under 25C. I think part of that is timing. This year’s trip was the 2nd week of March whereas other years we’ve been in Las Vegas for St. Patrick’s Day. I’ll have to see about the timing of March Break in 2020 and adjust my weather expectations accordingly.

Hotel

After shunning Wynn last year after no timely discount room offers were forthcoming and instead staying at TI, we got a deal from Wynn in December and used it. We got a Panoramic Resort King room on the 37th floor. My wife feels really comfortable at the Wynn. Cosmetic things have changed in the room since we last stayed. One is that they now have touch-sensitive switches replacing all the old buttons/toggle switches. The touch-sensitive switches are lighted and labelled. Also the couch has gone from leather to a cloth covering.

My wife feels very comfortable at the Wynn such that she has no trouble getting to sleep. The only problems of note were that there was a drip in the toilet such that we closed the door to the toilet when we went to bed to contain the noise. Also there was an odd cleaning product smell in the elevator, hallway, and room that persisted while we stayed. I offered to call down and get us a different room, but she didn’t want to pack up everything again to move rooms.

A few other things we noticed were that for the hotel overall the attention to detail wasn’t as sharp. For example, the carpet shaving they do early in the morning left little bits of the shaved carpet here and there. They did the carpet shaving when Steve Wynn was running the show too, but they always re-vacuumed the bits up instead of leaving them. The Wynn is still a great place to stay, but I wonder how it will fare as time goes on.

Restaurants

We used our free buffets from the Wynn on the Sunday evening dinner. The lineup was pretty big and took 25 minutes to get in. The Sunday buffets often feature a bigger spread including crabs legs, seafood, etc. and this was no exception. They had BBQ Beef ribs as one of the items which I really liked. I also got the three different kinds of street tacos that were at one station and they were quite good. Not as good as Tacos El Gordo, but still well done. My wife liked a chick pea dish they had going (like Chenna if you’re familiar with Indian food) as well as a mini-meat loaf that she said was quite good. Overall my wife and I have decided that we can’t really make buffets pay anymore. I think the Wynn buffet runs $40 per person for Sunday, but we certainly couldn’t make it pay at $30. We just can’t eat that much. Mind you it was complimentary with our stay so really I can’t complain about price.

Monday morning we ate at Terrace Point Café in the Wynn. I wanted to get some items charged to the room to see if I could get them to comp me. We both got an omelette. I had the Ham and Cheddar Cheese and my wife had the Asparagus and Truffle. We also shared the fruit plate. All of the items were excellent, but the portions were quite large and we couldn’t finish them.

We skipped lunch on Monday as we ate breakfast late. We had supper at Jeannie’s which is buried inside the 3rd floor at Nordstrom’s at the Fashion Show Mall. It’s gotten some buzz on Yelp and other review sites with good reason. We started with the Roasted Apple appetizer. The bacon and the crème fraiche nicely complement the crispy roasted apple. I suspect it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but we liked it a lot. For our mains, my wife had a Prosciutto & Fontina Toastie with Dijon mustard and I had the Fennel Sausage pizza . She really like toastie which was like a grilled sandwich except done in their pizza oven. She’s also a big mustard fan and thought theirs was perfect for her sandwich. My pizza was excellent as well. The fennel and sausage flavours went perfectly with their marinara base. The portions aren’t overly large which we were happy with. We would both highly recommend this restaurant. Go out of your way to eat here.

Tuesday morning I was golfing so my wife just grabbed coffee and a danish from the Wynn. Tuesday evening for supper we went to Tacos El Gordo. We went to the outlet just north of the Wynncore, but they’ve moved to the next building over into a larger space. They had a sign up on the door and a person to re-direct us 200 feet north. We got several spicy pork tacos as well as a few steak tacos and quesadillas. Peppers and onions too. My wife doesn’t normally enjoy pork, but she liked the spicy pork tacos enough to get a couple more for us to share. The new space has much better seating than the old location and the food, as always, is excellent.

Wednesday morning we just had juice, danish, and yoghurt from the CVS at TI. Wednesday night we decided to travel to Lindo Michoacan as we haven’t been in a few years. We each had one of their excellent margaritas then we shared the handmade guacamole as an appetizer. I had the Carnitas and my wife had Gallinita al Cognac. My Carnitas tasted wonderful, but I never got the orange flavour that’s reported in the menu. My wife loved the chicken and mushroom with the cream sauce, but she had an allergic reaction. Her face was very itchy and her eyes were watering as we drove back to the hotel room. She’s gotten reactions to shell fish the last couple years and I wonder if there was some cross-contamination with her food. We always travel with Benadryl now and she’s got an epipen if she starts to have trouble breathing. Luckily we didn’t have to use the epipen and most of the symptoms subsided within 20 minutes after taking the Benadryl.

Shows

We were staying at the Wynn so we decided we would see Le Reve Tuesday night and again charge it to the room to see if they would comp us. They knocked off $20 a ticket for charging it to the room as well. The theatre is a fairly small in-the-round layout and the first two rows are designated as a “splash zone” so beware. I didn’t see anyone come out soaked in our section. The size of the theatre gives everyone a great view so any seat is a good one. The show is a copy of Cirque du Soliel’s ‘O’ so it involves a pool/water stage with diving, trapeze, interpretive dance, and bits of legerdemain in the comedy relief spots.

It is very well produced and the music, sound, and light show that accompanies the performance is well done. The story is fairly simple – a woman has a dream about what she desires. A fellow acts as a dream guide to show her what the possibilities are. There is the archetypal good-for-you guy and the naughty fellow that she interacts with throughout the show. There was some voice-over at the beginning of the show to let you know what you’re in for that I found a little distracting, but they didn’t persist with it luckily. The stage where they perform the show is fairly tight so there must be accidents and we saw one of the performers with a large bandage on his shoulder. Overall we really enjoyed the show. My wife liked it better than ‘O’, but it didn’t quite reach that level for me. It is still an excellent show and well worth seeing.

Shopping

Monday morning we went to Boot Barn as my wife is a country girl at heart and she bought a pair of cowboy boots. She also bought me a couple nice Ariat long-sleeved button down shirts.

My wife also checked out Pinto Ranch and Macy’s Monday afternoon at the Fashion Show mall. She only ended up with a few small items and was disappointed that Macy’s only had one of her items in her size.

Disappointed with her outing at the mall we wandered by Kemo Sabe in the Forum Shops at Caesar’s to browse their selection of cowboy boots. My wife fell in love with a pair of Old Gringo boots, but the upper part of the boot was tight enough to prevent her foot from getting in. The salesperson, smelling a sale, tried all the tricks to successfully get my wife into those boots – silicone spray, using plastic bags to help slide them on. The problem was my wife had been on her feet all day and so both her feet and calves were swollen. Try as they might they just couldn’t get them on. We left without the boots, but my wife was bound and determined to get into those boots. The sales staff agreed to put them in the stretcher overnight and stretch them a little and she would come back the next day to see if she could get into them while I golfed Tuesday morning.

My wife didn’t get around to Kemo Sabe until Tuesday afternoon after a mishap with the hotel room key. The shop had stretched them and she showed up at the Cromwell wearing them while I was at the JoB VP machines. They were going to take some breaking in as it took us 15 minutes Tuesday evening to get them off after wearing them all day and to the show.

Golfing

I booked a 7:33AM tee time at Paiute Golf Resort’s Wolf course. As stated, it was a chilly morning with cloud cover, but at one point a long thin stretch of sky opened up and poured sunlight onto the snow-covered mountains. It was quite a sight to behold:



I can’t take credit for the picture. One of my fellow golfers took the picture with his phone and sent it to me. The picture doesn’t do the view justice either as you can’t get the dynamic range that the eye does.

It’s a small world because the fellows I golfed with were on a golf holiday from a Texas sales/service branch of Skyjack. Skyjack is based in Guelph, Ontario which is in my neck of the woods.

One problem did crop up while golfing. My wife was camped out in the hotel room and thought I’d be back around noon, but I didn’t get back until 1PM. She put on the ‘Service Room’ light and the maid came in about 11:30 so my wife cleared out of the room quickly so the maid could get her work done. Unfortunately my wife forgot her room key on the desk. She waited for me for about 30 minutes and then talked to the concierge to see how she could get back into the room. The concierge called up and got three security guys – each 6’ 5” or more – to meet her at our room where they got her to show ID and then let her into the room.

Gambling

Here is how I’d summarize the gambling on this trip: Beatings will continue until morale improves.

I’m not going to give a blow-by-blow this trip report, but I’ll give you the low lights.

The summary is Jacks or better video poker was mostly kind to us this trip with a net gain of probably less than $100. However I had exactly zero winning sessions of blackjack and craps. I went down with $1700 as the bankroll, and came back with $140.

For video poker:

We played the $0.25 9/6 JoB machines at the Cromwell several times and never came out ahead.

I had some luck with the $1 9/6 machines at TI and managed to hit a 4-of-a-kind in one session there coming out $50 ahead. Another session I got a couple full houses with a bunch of straights, flushes, and three-of-a-kinds mixed in to come out about $190 above my buy-in. That represented the entirety of my good luck.

We also looked for $1 9/6 JoB Spin Poker at the Wynn that vpfree2.com lists, but we didn’t find any on the main floor. There is one machine we found in the high limit room. I got some time in on that, but lost money for the four times I tried my luck. One interesting thing cropped up while playing that machine. A fellow wandered in to check the Ultimate X machines they have in there and then immediately walked out. Security immediately identified him as an Ultimate X vulture, and got on the walkie-talkie to alert the rest of the security staff to 86 him.

We got over to South Point and played a little of the $0.25 9/6 multi-strike JoB coming out even after 30 minutes of play. We looked for some single line $0.25 9/6 JoB and didn’t find any. There were some three-play machines, but no single line. I thought that South Point was the king of video poker.

For craps:

I played at TI a couple times for $5, several sessions at the Wynn for $10, once at South Point for $5, once at Casino Royale for $5, and once at Cromwell for $10 on my double up attempt.

Zero winning sessions playing craps.

I played both pass line and don’t pass in equal measure with a number of place 6,8 bets too. I was never brave enough to try a buy 4 or 10 bet this trip. Nothing really worked and no real streaks came up.

Some interesting things during my play were an early morning session at the Wynn where a young man who’d had a lot to drink stormed around the casino floor after losing his last few dollars at blackjack accusing the dealer of cheating and being racist. The stickman at my table asked if we’d suddenly been transported out of Las Vegas and into Detroit. Eventually about 8 security people surrounded him and herded him out of the casino.

Another amusing session was at Casino Royale where I bought into a pretty full table and the dice passed to me after the two shooters to my right failed to make their point. I immediately bet don’t pass and proceeded to make the next two points against myself. The fellow to my right says to me, “Hey don’t pass guy you’re the only one who can make points at this table!” so I switched to pass line and proceeded to make the next two points as well. I became the “don’t pass guy” at that session and the next time the dice came to me I proceeded to make a point of 10. I then got on a point of 4 and then my wife shows up after browsing Sephora next door to pull me away. I sevened-out on the next roll and the guys beside me are telling her, “You distracted the don’t pass guy and he missed his four! He’s the only guy at the table who could make points!” She enjoyed the playful banter and we headed off.

Also during that session, Casino Royale kept its sweat-the-money crown. A young fellow four to my right had a good run and with my four points so was up quite a bit. He asked to colour up and the boxman yells across the table, “Put it on the felt including the stack in your pocket!” The kid had been rat holing, but I don’t even think he’d been playing on a card so why did they care?

I did attempt my double up on craps at the Cromwell. It was early in the morning and so I bought in during a fellow’s roll without making a bet and he scolded me for it. “Hey don’t buy in if you’re not going to put money on the roll!” I apologized and he accepted particularly after he made his point immediately after scolding me saying to his buddies, “Hey I overcame it!” He also made his next point too and I got fist bumps from him each time. When the dice passed to me, I got a 4 and immediately got a seven-out putting my $100 behind. Easy come, easy go.

For blackjack:

I played several times at TI for $10 on their 6-deck 3/2 games, and twice at the Wynn. Once for $25 a hand just before we went to the show Tuesday night and the other an early morning session with a nice $15 minimum where I played for $20 to keep surrender and blackjacks even.

Zero winning sessions of blackjack.

I got very few blackjacks this trip and it felt like 60% of the doubles and splits I got to play I would lose. In addition to that, for a couple sessions at TI it felt every double or split opportunity was foiled by the dealer having blackjack.

My wife played once with me at TI and she came out ahead by $10 after about an hour, but meanwhile I’d lost $60 in the same stretch.

The only interesting thing that came up during blackjack was that the table at TI where my wife and I played (with the 21+3 side bet) is hand shuffled so those looking for a slower game should check it out. It’s still 6-deck with 3/2 for blackjack, double after split, re-split aces, and surrender.

I tried my double up on blackjack at TI on the Wednesday, but I only risked $100 after the beatings I’d took prior. I lost the first two hands, then got a double which I won, but then it was three losses for every win until I washed out. The highest I got was the bet for $40 after the double.

For Roulette:

I’m not a roulette player, but some friends from work wanted me to put $10 on a bunch of numbers for them. The agreement was $10 on 23 and $10 on red for my buddy Chris. Dave wanted $10 on black and he took zero for $10. $10 on 13 for Andrew. I covered double-zero for $10. Here’s a picture of the felt:



It came up red 21 and they kindly let me video it as well to share with the guys back home.

For Slots:

My wife likes the Wheel of Fortune slot so we did our 7 spins each on the $1 5-lines machine at South Point. We lost it all.

Not satisfied with that little play, my wife found a $0.25 Wheel of Fortune machine at TI where we could both sit down and play. She managed to get to the bonus game several times on that machine, but we never came out ahead at any point. We’d put in $40 and play for most of an hour and we did that probably 3 times. I don’t play slots much, but what I did find odd about the $0.25 machine is that I managed to hit a triple-bar something or other and we won 160 coins and that exceeded any amount we ever won on the actual Wheel of Fortune bonus game.

TI Drawing:

TI runs a drawing where three people get a chance on a plinko board to win free play amounts up to $10,000. I’d managed to build up 60 tickets for the draw over my time so Wednesday night I put all my tickets into the draw. One man and then a husband and wife were drawn to drop the plinko puck. I found it odd that both a husband and wife were drawn together. Are these types of drawings rigged or skewed in some manner? I have no evidence either way, but I’m curious.

For Sports Gambling:

I make two bets on NFL futures involving the NY Jets. $20 for the NY Jets to win the AFC championship game and $20 for the NY Jets to win the Super Bowl. I shopped around for the odds. TI had the Jets at 70 to 1 for the Super Bowl and 35 to 1 for the AFC championship. Eventually I made the bet at the William Hill Sportsbook outlet in Casino Royale as I got 100 to 1 for the Super Bowl and 50 to 1 for the AFC championship. Unfortunately I won’t break even if the Jets win the AFC championship, but I’ll be way ahead if they win the Super Bowl. 8-)


Gambling Overall

I did enjoy my gambling this year, but winning is obviously more enjoyable than losing. I lost a lot this trip. I said to a co-worker that any money that I gamble in Las Vegas is money I’m willing to take out to my backyard and burn. It is gambling after all. The thrill of winning must be balanced by the risk of losing.

I did check with the Wynn about comps for the gambling I’d done at their property, but they didn’t extend any additional comps beyond the free buffet we’d gotten with the booking.

Trip Overall

The Winter in Southern Ontario is one that was nice to get away from. We had a cold snap at the beginning of February then ice pellets and freezing rain each week after. Despite the cooler weather in Las Vegas it’s certainly better than what we had back home. There were hiccups in every area of our trip this time and a big one in all the gambling losses. Despite that we’ll be back next year to enjoy better weather, to keep looking for our first royal flush on a single line JoB machine, take in a show, eat at nice restaurants, see some nice sights, and hopefully have better luck at the tables.

--helpmespock
GWAE
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helpmespock
March 26th, 2019 at 6:01:47 PM permalink
sometimes these drawings are a bunch of crap. I remember a story where someone was given something like 10,000 entries into it because of their status.
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beachbumbabs
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helpmespock
March 26th, 2019 at 6:28:47 PM permalink
Good report, hms! Thanks for all the details.

I definitely need to try Taco El Gordo next time I'm there. You're not the only one who recommends them highly.
If the House lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game.
helpmespock
helpmespock
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March 26th, 2019 at 6:51:40 PM permalink
Quote: GWAE

sometimes these drawings are a bunch of crap. I remember a story where someone was given something like 10,000 entries into it because of their status.



I vaguely recall people posting that they can get skewed in favour of players that are higher up the totem pole, but I hadn't given it much thought until the husband and wife won. Them both getting their ticket drawn does seem to be too much of a coincidence.

--helpmespock
helpmespock
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March 26th, 2019 at 6:59:01 PM permalink
Quote: beachbumbabs

Good report, hms! Thanks for all the details.

I definitely need to try Taco El Gordo next time I'm there. You're not the only one who recommends them highly.



Your welcome!

Also remember Jeannie's in Nordstrom since they are both down that end of the strip. My wife says that she likes it better than Tacos El Gordo. I forgot to mention this in the report, but we showed up at Jeannie's at about 7:40PM and they actually close at 8PM even though the mall closes at 9PM. The young folks running it that night fired everything back up for us and cooked for us despite our late arrival all with a smile.

--helpmespock
Hullabaloo
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helpmespock
March 26th, 2019 at 7:57:56 PM permalink
Yea, it's kind of rigged. People who play a lot get a ton of entries which gives them a better chance of winning. I don't bother with it unless I'm heading there anyway.

Many years ago I was at the New Frontier and every day they had 3 drawings with 3 people each time. As I recall you put your tickets into a barrel.

The first drawing was uneventful, and I didn't get in. In the second drawing an hour later I was called in the third place, and won something like $80. In the third drawing the same lady that had been picked 2nd in the 2nd drawing, (just ahead of me), was again picked in the 2nd position in the third drawing. Oddly enough, I was picked in 3rd place again, (with something like $100 win).

There were a whole bunch of people in the crowd and I'm pretty sure that most of them were probably thinking it was completely rigged. But it was my first time there, I wasn't a huge player so there was no incentive in having me win not just once, but twice.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
Ayecarumba
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helpmespock
March 26th, 2019 at 8:35:31 PM permalink
Thanks for the fun write up HMS. Too bad about the variance, but I’m glad you both had fun.

My wife also loves the beds at the Wynn. They have a shop in the hotel where you can buy everything in the room.

Maybe we should all call you Don’t Pass Guy from now on?

Are the boots getting used alot now that you’re home? Hehe... 15 minutes and the jaws of life to get them off... The Price of Beauty is steep.
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helpmespock
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March 28th, 2019 at 3:33:02 PM permalink
Quote: Hullabaloo

Yea, it's kind of rigged. People who play a lot get a ton of entries which gives them a better chance of winning. I don't bother with it unless I'm heading there anyway.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.



Ultimately it's their draw. This draw was all computer done so it was a virtual drum. Presumably NGC has some rules/guidelines on draws like this, but skewing would still be possible in the sense that some types of play may count for more tickets than others.

I was gambling anyway so I figured I'd put'em all in and see what happened.

--helpmespock
helpmespock
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Ayecarumba
March 28th, 2019 at 3:40:25 PM permalink
Quote: Ayecarumba

Are the boots getting used alot now that you’re home? Hehe... 15 minutes and the jaws of life to get them off... The Price of Beauty is steep.



She's worn them a couple times to work now (when she doesn't have outdoor duty). They've stretched out a little more since she first had them on. She still can't get them off quickly. Thank goodness for boot jacks. 8-)

Her normal stance is that comfort trumps looks, but she made an exception this time. She's been on the lookout for that style of boot for a while.

--helpmespock
DRich
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March 28th, 2019 at 3:58:12 PM permalink
Many years ago I was invited to an event at Venetian that was giving away a huge amount of money. The tickets earned were based on play for one day. I played a huge amount, probably more than any other machine player that I could tell. They drew 25 tickets and I wasn't called. I was shocked because it was a pretty small number of guests invited and I had many many tickets. the last ticket drawn got $250,000 in cash and it graduated down to a minimum of $5,000 in cash if you were drawn.

In my mind the math said I should have had at least a few tickets drawn.

About a year later the Gaming Control Board fines Venetian for rigging drawings to certain players. I was pissed but at least I felt vindicated as I still believe my math was correct and I should have won a minimum of about $15,000.
Living longer does not always infer +EV

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