Wizard
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Wizard
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May 22nd, 2012 at 4:06:02 PM permalink
As many of you know, I went to Panama in February 2011, and wrote three blog entries about it. What you didn't know is that I wrote an article for Casino Player magazine about it. They never paid for it, nor ever published it, so they agreed to revert the rights back to me. So please have a look at my article Gambling in Panama. Although I wrote it over a year ago, this is the first time the public has seen it.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
Mission146
Mission146
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May 22nd, 2012 at 6:51:06 PM permalink
Wizard,

Thank you for posting that fantastic article free of charge.

Would you suggest that (other than casinos) Panama is a good place for a family vacation? If that is the case, then I would most certainly visit there and would very much enjoy playing Blackjack at Crown after everyone goes to bed. I love small and quiet casinos. I speak just enough Spanish to get myself arrested, so maybe I can encourage the dealer to shoot the breeze with me a little bit.

I should also wonder about the price of hotels there, if you do not mind divulging. It does not appear that my franchise has any there (I checked), so it's going to be full price for me. I can probably sweet-talk the rate down, if I get someone who speaks English and can figure out the hotel is not selling out for the nights I want, but that'll save me 25%, tops.
Vultures can't be choosers.
pacomartin
pacomartin
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May 22nd, 2012 at 7:09:50 PM permalink
Quote: Mission146

Suggest that (other than casinos) Panama is a good place for a family vacation? If that is the case, then I would most certainly visit there and would very much enjoy playing Blackjack at Crown after everyone goes to bed. I love small and quiet casinos. I speak just enough Spanish to get myself arrested, so maybe I can encourage the dealer to shoot the breeze with me a little bit.



The Wizard wrote more details on his blog. Scroll back to last February and read those as well. He also has other articles on his Wizard of Odds site.

Quote: Sample wizard's blog #5

Riande Continental, based on decent reviews on Travelocity and a competitive price. I had no idea of the quality of the area. I arrived late at night, checked in, and was given a room with a view of Via Veneto. It was perfectly obvious from my window that this minor street was in an adult-oriented part of the city, as evidenced by a lot of bars, taxis, and people milling about late at night.



The Continental looks like it has been upgraded since the Wizard stayed there (maybe he can confirm), and no longer part of the Riande 2 hotel chain. The advertise rates starting at $123 (although I think cheaper is available). Many guests warn about traffic noise if you are not poolside.
CrapsForever
CrapsForever
Joined: Mar 6, 2012
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May 22nd, 2012 at 7:13:47 PM permalink
Great Post!

I went to Casino Veneto in Panama City In 2010 and everything the Wizard mentioned is SPOT-ON!

Just one thing I wanted to add is to be very careful drinking the local water while out in Panama. Three people in my group including myself got severely sick while in Panama. Although I only drank bottled water, I used regular ice (made from regular local water) and I believe that's what made me sick. I had severe stomach cramps, hot and cold flashes and was in bed for an entire 24 hour period on the 4 day trip. After my return home to the States; I had a 104 degree fever and had to go to the emergency room for antibiotics.

Do not drink local water (Ice included) in Panama!
Craps is the most "Jekyll and Hyde" casino game ever invented!
pacomartin
pacomartin
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May 22nd, 2012 at 7:30:46 PM permalink
Quote: Mission146

Would you suggest that (other than casinos) Panama is a good place for a family vacation?



For families may I suggest the Gamboa Rain Forest resort. It is about 20 miles outside of town, and there is no gambling, but it is unique.
Wizard
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Wizard
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May 22nd, 2012 at 7:40:37 PM permalink
Quote: Mission146

Would you suggest that (other than casinos) Panama is a good place for a family vacation?



Keep in mind that I never left Panama City. So all I'm qualified to say is that I do NOT recommend Panama City for a family vacation. The traffic is terrible and as far as I could tell there weren't many family-friendly things to do, other than watching ships pass through the canal.

I do know there are nice resorts further out of the city in the jungle that cater to fishing or just the beauty of the jungle. However, you don't need to travel that far to find that. Belize or Costa Rica would be where I would start looking for that.

Regarding the water, my policy in questionable places is to buy bottled water and avoid drinks with ice. You can't go wrong with beer. I also don't skimp on food and eat at decent-looking places. So I never had a problem with my health in Panama.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
Mission146
Mission146
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May 22nd, 2012 at 9:28:25 PM permalink
IN ORDER:

PacoMartin:

Thank you. I will read more of the Wizard's writings on Panama, though I doubt I would go. Good casino action is a VERY distant second to an excellent family atmosphere otherwise with plenty of stuff for the kids (one four-year old and one who is almost one) to do.

In fact, if I had a good lead on a great vacation destination for the family where I could get in and out at a good price, thee obviously wouldn't have to be a casino within 500 miles for me to jump all over that. The problem with this franchise is that we have very few hotels outside of N.A., with exception to a handful in Europe.

I also appreciate the link to the Gamboa place. I would have to say that I would not pay that amount of money for a room anywhere. No hotel could possibly be that good. It looks very nice, though, better for a honeymoon or couples vacation than a family thing, I might suggest.

Wizard

Thank you for the lack of a recommendation for a family vacation, or for not recommending a bad place, in any event. I will nevertheless read your other entries concerning Panama. I wish I could see that kind of Low Table Minimum action, here. That's really the only thing that keeps me from the Tables, even though my current gambling bankroll is at $786.00 (Mostly Carry-Over from last year + $25.00/month added) I am down $40.00 (discluding monthly additions) this year and I really hate putting up more than $50.00 in one night.

I will see if you have any blogs on Belize or Costa Rica. Perhaps I will get lucky and my franchise will have a hotel in one of those places.
Vultures can't be choosers.
pacomartin
pacomartin
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May 22nd, 2012 at 10:37:33 PM permalink
Quote: Mission146

Thank you. I will read more of the Wizard's writings on Panama, though I doubt I would go. Good casino action is a VERY distant second to an excellent family atmosphere otherwise with plenty of stuff for the kids (one four-year old and one who is almost one) to do. In fact, if I had a good lead on a great vacation destination for the family where I could get in and out at a good price, thee obviously wouldn't have to be a casino within 500 miles for me to jump all over that. The problem with this franchise is that we have very few hotels outside of N.A., with exception to a handful in Europe.



While the USA went from 76.2 million in 1900 to 281 million in 2000, Latin America went from 60.1 million to 520.0 million. In most countries one city is primary, and hence the cities are very crowded and busy. Panama city is struggling with Manhattan levels of traffic.

However, Mexicans in particular are very family oriented. I think it is a great place to take children.
odiousgambit
odiousgambit
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May 23rd, 2012 at 12:02:58 AM permalink
Quote: CrapsForever

I used regular ice (made from regular local water)



oh, wow, this is such a common blunder
the next time Dame Fortune toys with your heart, your soul and your wallet, raise your glass and praise her thus: “Thanks for nothing, you cold-hearted, evil, damnable, nefarious, low-life, malicious monster from Hell!” She is, after all, stone deaf. ... Arnold Snyder
AcesAndEights
AcesAndEights
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May 23rd, 2012 at 1:15:55 PM permalink
Hey Wiz, a couple questions about your Panama blackjack strategy. They're either mistakes or I'm misreading the chart/text.
Quote: article

Hit a two-card 9 but double a three-card 9 against a 2.


According to the chart, you should always hit a 9 against a 2, and the above instructions would apply to a 9 against a 3.

Quote: article

Normally when the dealer hits a soft 17, the player should double 9 against a 2.


This is not true, usually you should hit a 9 against a 2, unless you are playing double or single deck.
"So drink gamble eat f***, because one day you will be dust." -ontariodealer

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