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Joined: Feb 6, 2012
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February 6th, 2012 at 11:10:58 AM permalink
This is a trip report with pictures. Although my thread count is low, I am not a new member, I am actually a very long time reader and member. I have been out of the AP scene for a while, as my current advantage play is to run my business, which has made me very comfortable. My thanks to Professor Shackleford, from whom I gained inspiration and the information that currently shapes my way of thinking and my way of running my business.

I am, unfortunately, also a gambling addict. Gambling addicts never fully recover, we just continually recover. In order to control my gambling impulse, I have two rules when it comes to gambling: 1. I gamble on the cheap (meaning I only gamble if there is a "deal", cheap does not mean low roller, as my bankroll is 25k annually), and 2. I only go on gambling trips once a year, and I have to drive there no matter where it is (flying would be too easy). I have followed these two rules for the last 8 years, and I have been ok.

My friends and I were deciding where to go for our next gambling trip, and I came across the Santa Ana Star Casino (hereinafter the "star") on the WoO website. The Star has a free buy on the 4 and 10 and a free field. After lots of research, it came down to a vote between going to New Mexico and Shreveport, LA, where I play craps.

This was my calculation. Remember rule 1. My total expenses in Shreveport would be $650 if I played in Shrevport. This is how it breaks down. My total expected loss would be $300 at $100 expected loss a day (I play $5 pass with $500 odds and two come bets and mas odds, and at my calculations, this comes out to an expected loss of about $100 per day, considering that each $5 pass/come bet carries an expected loss of about 7.5pennies). Cost of transportation divided by 3, and my share is $150. Room and Food is always comped totally, so room and food is zero. Dealer tips is zero, as I do not tip Shreveport dealers. Miscellaneous expenditures is $200.

To play at the Star, I figured that expected loss be minimal (less than $5 over 3 days). Room would be $300 (100 per day), food $150 total (I didn't think they would comp the room and food). Transportation would be $150. Dealer tips would be $30 (Wizard of Vegas research suggests that if a player plays the 4,10 and field exclusively, the floor will back off the player unless the player tips, so a $10 a day tip is necessary). and Miscellaneous expenditures would be 200. So total cost is $830 to play at the Star over 3 days.

The novelty of the Free 4,10 and field necessitated a trip to the Star. So off we went!

After a 12 hour drive we finally arrived.

This is a pic of the Star's board. the Star is north of Albuquerque NM.

We arrived!!! wohoo!!!

here is the outside of the Star

the inside of the Star once you step inside

the ugly ass carpeting inside the Star

lol. I know, I'm being mean.

Finally, I am at the Craps table. This is the only table that was open the entire trip. I approached the table and bought in for $10,000. That immediately brought over a host with an offer of a free room and anything else I needed. I had them comp my entire stay, so now the cost of room and food was removed from my calculations!

This is a pic of the craps layout. Notice the Free 4,10 and triple/triple field. I am betting, as the pic shows $250 on 4, and $250 on the 10, and $5 on the pass line. I was the only person at table at this point, so I was obligated to bet on pass, or else no one else would shoot. btw, max odds is 10x. Later during the trip, I would increase my bets to the table maximum, betting $500 on 4, $500 on 10. There is no requirement to bet on pass line (unless, like in this situation, where I am the only player at the table).

take a look that this pic again..notice the players are all playing the center bets, the hardways, the 8,6 place, etc. Despite a free 4,10, people still play the stupid bets! There are no bets on the 4,10!

At the end of the first night of gambling, I was up $8,000. The dealers liked me because I was tipping (and I doled out the entire $10 tipping budget for the day).

The next two days were choppy and I ended up winning a total of $11,000 by the end of the trip. I made a total of about 100 pass bets, over 3 days, for an expected loss of $7.50.

They were very generous with their comps. This is a redacted screen shot of my comp dollars. I have taken out my name. It shows over $101.69 comp dollars available, even though I had spent about $100 in comps already!

Comp dollars!

with all those comp dollars, I ate like a wasteful king. This was my breakfast, for me only. one of my friends was even more wasteful, in ordering literally everything off the menu using his comp dollars. Comps!!!!

Chiles. This is traditional New Mexican food stuff.

goofing around on the penny slots. I inserted $5 and won $21!!! woohoo!!

back to craps table. Boxwoman in bad mood. Notice all the low roller bets at the table. Every player at this casino was very poor. I have never seen so many peole buy in for less than $100. In addition, I could tell they couldn't afford to be gambling because a lot of people would pull out crumpled bills totaling $43, 51, 87, etc. And then they would walk away with a long face if they went broke. Several players asked me for a loan. One player commented if he had my money, all his problems would be solved (to which I thought, "why are you gambling" and "are you going to solve your problems by attempting to mug me in the parking lot?").

again, notice above the place bets and the two hardways bets. OMG people, does anyone see the free 4,10?????

the poker game. I played poker for 10 minutes just to take a pic. 1,2 no limit, lowest rake in NM at $3 + $1 Jackpot.

single zero roulette table, closed.

double zero table, open.

We decided to drive to another NM casino to see what they were like. We went to the Sandia on the advice of one of the locals, who said that the Sandia had a better craps game because they had big odds! I was wondering if he understood that you can't get better than free 4,10 and triple/triple field. Regardless, because everyone said the Sandia was the nicest casino, we went there.

the Sandia from outside.

the Sandia from inside.

more pics of Sandia from inside...

On both of these spins, the ball landed one of the two numbers that were not covered or minimally covered. lol. Notice in the above pic the ball, as marked by the dealer, landed on number 7. The 7 had the small stack. See all the big stacks arond the 7? lol. It'll teach em not to play a game with a 5.25 HE. One lady had multiple greens straight up at a $100 per number. Ouch! This table had about $2000 per spin on it.

At the Sandia, we each received $25 in promotional dead chips for signing up.

drum roll...I played the promo chips and they turned into this...

Yes. All from promo chips! FYI, there is a strat on the WOV website for best use of dead chips, if I recall correctly. I just was "lucky" lol (I don't believe in luck, I only believe in variance).

craps at the Sandia. I am confused!!! why is there nothing saying that the 4,10 are free???? why does the Field say double/triple!???

Where is the Free 4,10???? why only double/triple??!!!??

BTW, the local was wrong. The odds are only 5x. Booooo!!!

This is a blurry pic of the Sandia tables game pit.

The games at the Sandia were terrible. Do not go there for BJ. They have terrible rules. Most games CSM.

If you go to the Sandia, don't forget to sign up for their promo chip giveaway.

This is my ending bankroll. No safety deposit box, and no wires out or in. 36k. You will need security escort if you wanna bring your AP game.

This is the end of my trip report. Any questions about NM them my way.

BTW, this is a pic of my poker set up. As a gambling addict, I like to play poker once a week. I must do a show and tell of my poker set up. Notice the Shufflemaster Deckmate in my table (i have two of em)? I keep em in a very large gun safe that has security, fyi. The chips are Paulson world Top hat and Cane and also some Chipcos. I host poker once a week with my friends and I never take a rake, fyi. We just play small stakes poker for fun, and the extravagant poker set up is just my wasteful spending, as I like to indulge.

Go Bruins!!!!!

On a last point, no alcohol is allowed on the floor of any NM casino!! alcohol must be PURCHASED at the bar, but since I had a ton of comp dollars, it was all free for me. There are persons who walk around with drink carts who will serve nonalcoholic drinks. At first I tipped the person a dollar, but then I noticed that no one was tipping her, so I ceased tipping too. This lowered my miscellaneous expenses by $40, as I wouldn't tip the drink person again. Total cost for trip to the Star was $150 transportation, $30 in dealer tips, $1 in drink tips, zero for room and food and alcohol at the bar.

fun times!!!
Joined: Jan 14, 2010
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February 6th, 2012 at 11:35:49 AM permalink
Quote: klimate10

I am, unfortunately, also a gambling addict. Gambling addicts never fully recover, we just continually recover. In order to control my gambling impulse, I have two rules when it comes to gambling:

1. I gamble on the cheap (meaning I only gamble if there is a "deal", cheap does not mean low roller, as my bankroll is 25k annually), and
2. I only go on gambling trips once a year, and I have to drive there no matter where it is (flying would be too easy).

I have followed these two rules for the last 8 years, and I have been ok.

I think you are stretching the word addict. You won $11K and tipped $10 per day. You seem very much in control.
Joined: Mar 8, 2011
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February 6th, 2012 at 11:52:02 AM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

I think you are stretching the word addict. You won $11K and tipped $10 per day. You seem very much in control.

I respectfully agree with paco, especially after viewing the definition of addiction:

the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.
Joined: Jan 5, 2012
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February 6th, 2012 at 11:55:50 AM permalink
Great trip report! I remember seeing those notes about the Santa Anna star on the Wiz's craps page back when I was learning about craps. I didn't really understand it then, but later on as I became a more experienced gambler, I realized how crazy it is for a casino to offer a truly 0% HE bet, with no strings attached (i.e. no pass line bet required, not required to play perfect strategy at a 100%+ VP game, etc.).

I am surprised they still offer it, although with all the ploppies routinely playing the inside numbers and the hardways anyway, as evidenced by your picture, I guess it's not too surprising.

I must make a trip here at some point, I've added it to my bucket list. Given the 0% edge bets and how they treated you based on the $10K buy-in, this sounds like a great place to milk comps! I am surprised they didn't back you off for making such large 0% bets and only tipping $10/day.

Although as a dark sider, I would be much more interested if they offered a free lay on the 6 and 8. Heh, "free lay" (insert Beavis and Butthead voice).
"So drink gamble eat f***, because one day you will be dust." -ontariodealer
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February 6th, 2012 at 12:27:44 PM permalink
Very nice report! Thanks!

I agree with what others have said about the addiction. You seem to have thing VERY much under control.

What's that chip on the line between the 9 and 10?

I find it ironic that they are very player friendly regarding the free 4, 10 and field, and yet, they still have the Big 6/8. Did it get any action?

(Edit: I had a comment about an incorrect photo link. It has since been fixed.)

VERY nice setup.

I was under the impression that ShuffleMaster does not sell their shufflers. How'd you get that Deckmate?
Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁
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February 6th, 2012 at 12:30:02 PM permalink
Thanks for the report! I enjoyed it. I note that the craps table at the Star appears shorter than the one at the Sandia. Is it just the camera angle, or was the table actually shorter?

Did you play the 0% HE Field bet too?

Even at 0%, you are not expected to make money, but to break even. How did you manage your bankroll to preserve the win (or was it just good variance for you)?

Are there other things to do besides the casino at the Star? (outlet shopping, sightseeing etc.?)
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication - Leonardo da Vinci
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February 6th, 2012 at 12:34:01 PM permalink
Did you get any sense they were disappointed they gave you full RFB and you gave them so little action with a HE?
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February 6th, 2012 at 12:34:20 PM permalink
I have my addiction under control for sure. But there was a time it could have destroyed my life, if not for some self reflection and some self control.

Acesand8s, if you are a dark sider, the free 4 and 10 is also applies to the lay against the 4 and 10. So it is free both ways. The only problem I see is that laying against the 4 and 10 is that it reduces variance. I don't know your playing style, but I prefer high variance. When you are buying the 4,10, it is an all or nothing proposition, meaning that 1/2 of the time, you will win, and 1/2 of the time you lose it all (6 ways to win the 4,10 vs. 6 ways to lose; in essence, it is an all or nothing coinflip).

When laying against the 4,10, 1/2 the time you will win half your bet, 1/3 of the time you will lose 1/4 of your total bet, and 1/6 of the time you will lose everything (1/2 +1/3+1/6 = 1). There is less variance when laying against...usually.

That's why I prefer the buy. I like the all or nothing approach.

I did the math on my craps play. I won $11k. At the rate of 3 rolls a minute on average, that means there is one resolution per minute (there is one resolution of the 4,10 v. 7 coinflip every 3 rolls bc there are 12 combinations that result in a resolution, and 24 that do nothing). At my time of play, I probably had 2100 total rolls, meaning that I had 700 coin flip resolutions. At an average of $500 per coin flip ($250 on the 4, $250 on the 10, sometimes I would up the bet to 500/500, but sometimes, I would take a break and bet 100/100, so averaged 250/250), that means that I won 22 more coinflips, on average, that I lost over the course of 700 coinflips.

Another important side note...

The Star does not allow you to wire money to them, so you just have to bring it along (I NEVER play with markers, and I don't know if they offer markers). And they DO NOT have a safety deposit box. I brought 25k in cash and had to walk around with over 20k in chips and 15k cash on my person (I do have a CCL). You just have to carry it all around. I asked for a security escort around, as there were a lot of shady looking people, some with tattoos on their faces, in strategic spots, if you know what I mean. To make matters worse, they have very few purple chips, and no purples on the craps table (remember everyone is a low roller), so I just was walking around with a giant mountain of chips inside the Star. If you bring a big enough bankroll, you will not have any problems making lady friends, just be careful your new friends don't get anywhere close to your bankroll. Overall, everyone is very nice. The dealers are very nice. They are all table for table, as far as keeping their tips. I did tip more than $10 per day, as at the end of the trip, I gave each craps dealer a $20 bill (the $10 was just a general tip so that I wouldn't be backed off the game). We also drained all of our comp dollars at the end of the trip by going to the snack counter and buying all their bottles and chips and snacks. About $500 worth. After buying everything that was nonperishable, that they had in stock, we had about $80 left. We then paid for the people behind us, until our balances were zero. A true AP play.

This is my new favorite casino. Please don't ruin it (I know how APers are with this stuff). Be kind to the staff, be kind to the dealers (tip them), and don't abuse the comp system!!!
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February 6th, 2012 at 12:41:43 PM permalink
I removed this post to prevent player abuse
Joined: Feb 6, 2012
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February 6th, 2012 at 12:54:21 PM permalink
Oh yeah, the chip in the the 9 and 10.

That was a tip I threw out for the dealer to ride with the 10. To make my tips last longer, I would throw up a dollar, at timed intervals, and tell them to ride, aka piggyback, my bet. That bet just landed and rolled up there. For a reason, which I will not disclose, the dealer just left it there. If you think about it for a second, you can guess why the dealer left it there the entire roll.

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