MidwestAP
MidwestAP
Joined: Feb 19, 2012
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March 10th, 2012 at 4:35:55 PM permalink
I decided to hit LV after I completed some work in Arizona mid week. This trip was going to be much different than prior trips as I was by myself and would be in Vegas for about 30 hours. Without company (girlfriend, friends) I would be able to play how/where I wanted and would not be participating in the other activities we usually do (pool, shows, dinners, clubs, sightseeing, etc.). Not that I don't like to take that all in, but wanted to devote this trip to disiplined advantage (or near advantage) play opportunities.

As way of background, I have a full time 'regular' job and only became interested in AP in 2004 after I ran the numbers and realized how much money I was giving up using only BJ basic strategy, allowing myself to play less than optimum VP, and other poor plays. My goal at that point was to introduce a counting strategy to my basic strategy, not with the intent of turning this into a living, just to be able to go to LV a couple times a year with a goal that my trip expenses combined with my gaming gain/loss averaged $0 in the long term.

Prior to arriving I mapped out a list of tables/machines I wanted to play, all of which were straight advantage play, or close to it. I had some decent counting success in 2004-2006, but after getting backed off from a major LV casino (and their other company joints), I got lazy, didn't explore the best cover plays nor practice good money management. Therefore I dedicated this trip to plugging those holes and tightening up my game. My bankroll for this short trip was $5,000.

Some items of interest:

Tried out Triple Attack BJ at Harrah's using an ace count and using the Wiz's basic strategy. Spreading only $10-$30 per hand as this game is new to me and I didn't want to risk more until I feel completely comfortable with the strategy differences and the ace count. Was down $300 early but caught back up and finished only $15 down. I must have looked so perplexed (as I had to keep checking my strategy chart) the dealer thought I was a noob and hes kept explaining not just the concept of triple attack bj, but of bj in general. For instance he explained how I could hit soft totals and not break, etc. This worked fine for me, I'd rather have him think I'm clueless, and I guess for this game maybe I wasn't that far away from it.

Played $1/$2 NL at Harrah's, within 40 minutes lost two big hands. First hand, flopped top two holding KJ offsuit, when the board came K-J-7 three suits. Got smoked by a player holding pocket 7's. 15 minutes later I was holding KQ suited on a flop of Q-Q-5. Unfortunately my opponent was holding AQ. It was time to go at that point, down $600.

Using the information on vpfree2.com, I was able to locate some 9/6 JoB at TI that fit my bankroll. I lost a little bit, but was so encouraged to know that this play was so much better than I had previously settled for on prior trips. I noted that TI has a BJ 2deck pitch game S17, DAS, which is my favorite game that can be found many places. I planned to visit at the end of my trip as the table minimum was $50 and my bankroll wouldn't support that minumum and still be able to spread correctly.

On second day I played the daily $150 deep stack noon poker tournament at the Venetian. I've played this tourney before and love the structure for a smaller stakes tourney. I played 5.5 hours and finally busted about 5 or 6 players from the money. I think they had 73 entrants.

In my plans I had mapped out a trip downtown to play 10/7 double bonus and 9/6 JoB VP, as well as some favorable BJ opportunites and 20x craps. I actually found this the most interesting part of the whole trip. To start with, I decided to use the Express bus to travel downtown and back, instead of using a taxi. At $7 per 24 hours this seemed to be most cost effective. In hindsight I probably won't do that again, it just took too much time with too many stops. And that was on the Express, I'd hate to see how long the Deuce took! I did find the bus to be clean and comfortable, it just took too long, I ended up taking a taxi back.

At the El Cortez, I was very excited to play single deck BJ DAS. I was pleasantly surprised to find an empty $25 minimum table. I was getting about 5-6 hands per shuffle. I played flawless (strategy/count), but got smoked nevertheless. After 10-15 minutes and $400 down, it was time to lick my wounds and move on. The El Cortez is an interesting place, in my opinion it absolutely fits the expression of "somewhere you have to visit, but wouldn't want to stay."

At Four Queens, I was planning on signing up for a players card (some of the attractive offers were $10 match play and a first card ace at blackjack), but the line was too long. I did hit quad 4's on VP 10/7 DB.

Las Vegas Club - The place was loud (very loud) with attractive girls dancing in the window and in the pit, and then when they weren't dancing the same girls were dealing blackjack! I played BJ double deck H17, DAS and even though the place desperatly needs a remodel (or a bulldozer), I was enjoying the game and the attractive dealers, but finally the volume of the music drove me out of there (I must be getting old).

California - About what I expected, full of floral shirts and Hawaiians. I couldn't locate either of the 9/6 JoB nor the 10/7 DB machines that I thought I'd find by the craps pit and Cal Club, but finally found a $1 10/7 DB machines by the Main Street Bar. Now here's where it gets interesting, I noticed right away the machines were old, they had the pay table printed on the machine itself rather than on the screen, and they had that old style 'clicking' sound as each card is dealt. I didn't realize how old my machine was until I went to cash out, and as I started to look for the ticket, I was startled as the heavy dollars started dropping into the tray!! I looked around to make sure I hadn't gone back it time and then after I assured myself I was still in 2012, I located a bucket right where the use to be, at the end of the row! And to make me laugh even more, my machine needed a fill when the hopper ran out! A hopper fill in 2012, hilarious!!!

My final stop downtown was a Main Street Station, I played some 10/7 DB on the casino floor (with modern multi game, multi denomination machines) before moving to the bar to play 9/6 JoB and have a drink. They brew their own beer and found it very good. I really enjoyed the atmoshphere at the Boar's Head bar. Finally moved over to 20x craps. My strategy was to play $5 pass bets with $50 odds, and then one or two additional $5 comes bets with $50 odds. Then as I hit the numbers I would gradually increase my odds up to $100 (20x). At that point I would increase to $10 flats with 10x odds, increasing with wins and so forth. I was able to get to this 'second level' ($10 flat) on two occasions. Even though I won only a nominal amount, around $100, I had a thorougly enjoyable experience. The dealers, players, waitressess, drinks were great! I'll make a point of returning there again sometime soon.

Back on the strip I played mostly blackjack, mixed with some with some baccarat, craps, and Pai Gow Poker (with three other players, banking every other hand) thrown in. Nothing special to note about these experiences.

Totals
  1. BJ - $1,025
  2. Craps - ($276)
  3. VP - ($41)
  4. Poker - ($645)
  5. PGP - $176
  6. Bac - $708

Total - $947 gaming

Once I back out my plane tickets, transporation, food, and tips (hotel was comped, and I never paid for a drink, just tips), my net win/loss was a positive $612 which met my goal of being at a net break even point. And the best part of it was I had a great time!
JohnnyQ
JohnnyQ
Joined: Nov 3, 2009
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March 10th, 2012 at 5:34:56 PM permalink
Good report, fun to read.

I assume you take advantage of the loss rebate promo's
when those are available. Cosmo had one for $ 100
last year, I'm not sure if they still have it or not. I heard
that Eastside Cannery has one, but I don't know the
details or how long they will have it. These are usually
for NEW slot club sign-ups only.
All around me are familiar faces / Worn out places, worn out faces / Bright and early for their daily races / Going nowhere, going nowhere - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdCLnwIkkps
AcesAndEights
AcesAndEights
Joined: Jan 5, 2012
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March 10th, 2012 at 6:18:12 PM permalink
Quote: MidwestAP

Las Vegas Club - The place was loud (very loud) with attractive girls dancing in the window and in the pit, and then when they weren't dancing the same girls were dealing blackjack! I played BJ double deck H17, DAS and even though the place desperatly needs a remodel (or a bulldozer), I was enjoying the game and the attractive dealers, but finally the volume of the music drove me out of there (I must be getting old).



Very enjoyable report. I feel my overall strategy toward AP may be very similar to yours as I get older. Break even, get some comps, have a good time.

I wish I had found that pit at Las Vegas Club when I was downtown last weekend! Every party pit I saw was 6-5 Crapjack.
"So drink gamble eat f***, because one day you will be dust." -ontariodealer
MidwestAP
MidwestAP
Joined: Feb 19, 2012
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March 10th, 2012 at 8:08:15 PM permalink
Quote: JohnnyQ

Good report, fun to read.

I assume you take advantage of the loss rebate promo's
when those are available. Cosmo had one for $ 100
last year, I'm not sure if they still have it or not. I heard
that Eastside Cannery has one, but I don't know the
details or how long they will have it. These are usually
for NEW slot club sign-ups only.



I had heard of the Cosmo rebate, but didn't go any further south on the strip than Harrah's. I thought I heard this promotion was over? And didn't have a car to get out to the Boulder Strip, but will keep any of these programs in mind on a future trip. I certainly look for what ever advantage I can get.

I forgot to mention that I had $300 match play from my hotel, which I split into 4 bets of $75. I lost 3 of the 4 on craps line bets, so I ended up losing $75 on the four bets, I wasn't playing odds.
AcesAndEights
AcesAndEights
Joined: Jan 5, 2012
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March 10th, 2012 at 9:10:12 PM permalink
Quote: MidwestAP

I had some decent counting success in 2004-2006, but after getting backed off from a major LV casino (and their other company joints), I got lazy, didn't explore the best cover plays nor practice good money management. Therefore I dedicated this trip to plugging those holes and tightening up my game. My bankroll for this short trip was $5,000.


So I'm assuming when you got backed off, you were playing a more aggressive spread trying to make money, rather than your current breakeven strategy, correct?
"So drink gamble eat f***, because one day you will be dust." -ontariodealer
AcesAndEights
AcesAndEights
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March 10th, 2012 at 9:11:35 PM permalink
Quote: MidwestAP

I forgot to mention that I had $300 match play from my hotel, which I split into 4 bets of $75. I lost 3 of the 4 on craps line bets, so I ended up losing $75 on the four bets, I wasn't playing odds.


Wow, that sounds like a pretty good match play deal from a hotel. Do you mind divulging which hotel it was? No worries if you'd rather not say.

With an EV of nearly $150 (depending on the game of course), that match play is worth more than a night at a lot of Vegas hotels.
"So drink gamble eat f***, because one day you will be dust." -ontariodealer
MidwestAP
MidwestAP
Joined: Feb 19, 2012
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March 10th, 2012 at 9:22:31 PM permalink
Correct, I was aggressively spreading. I was increasing and decreasing multiple units no matter if I won or lost the last hand if the count dictated it. I also probably over used the 'time to hit the restroom' excuse to get away from a bad count.

After that, I tried my own version of cover play, but really didn't think it through as I should have. In addition, I was averaging too much per hand for my bankroll, and not surprisingly, had some poor years. In the past year I've spent more time researching and learning and feel ready to try again, although as I stated, it's not something I need to make to earn a living, just like the idea of free vacations, especially since I like the games, the atmosphere, and using intellect to derive an edge. In particular, the book 'Burning the Tables in Las Vegas' has been a great resource, both from the concepts of cover play, and also the psychological parts of the game.
Asswhoopermcdaddy
Asswhoopermcdaddy
Joined: Nov 30, 2009
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March 10th, 2012 at 9:29:06 PM permalink
Sounds like an awesome trip. Out of curiosity, which hotel comped your stay? I never seem to play enough to get a comp =( But then again, I suppose my min bets get no respect.

Gonna be back in Vegas to check out the Trop and few other missed properties later in the year.
MidwestAP
MidwestAP
Joined: Feb 19, 2012
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March 10th, 2012 at 9:32:43 PM permalink
I don't want to mention the specific hotel, but the comped room and the match play were part of with an offer based on play from my many previous visits.

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