Posted by RonC
Oct 04, 2014

Four Days In Vegas...and planning the next trip...

I was lucky enough to have a conference come up in Las Vegas this month. For the price of my wife's ticket, we were able to get a four night trip. The conference was at the Aria.

The trip started with a sickening downturn--we dropped our luggage and headed downtown from Rio (we stayed the first night there in a comped room as the conference "free" rooms started the next night). The best part of the trip was the limo ride from the airport to Rio and then downtown. Gambling? Holy crap. We bounced from casino to casino and just couldn't get anything going. The second best part of the trip was stopping gambling and going to a show (Veronic Voices, which we enjoyed). Day one was a bomb at both craps and slots...and left me rethinking the bankroll.

Sunday found us making our trip to Casino Royale--it is a dive but we always seem to hold our own there. The change to one craps table is sad; they always seemed to have busy tables on weekends but they were pretty empty a lot of the time. I was able do well enough there to make up for the losses my wife had on the slots. The bonus was that both my wife and I had over $50 in comps there and we used them to eat dinner at Outback. The dinner was great, for Outback, and we had a table with a view of the Mirage volcano.

After dinner, we headed to Mirage to catch a cab...but ended up staying for a few hours. I am a $5 craps players but found myself at a $15 table. Things went up and down until one shooter caught a good roll and I was able to get about $300 ahead. It never got any better or any worse, so we left a little bit up for the day (though still way down overall).

We had moved from Rio to Aria...night and day!! Aria is a beautiful hotel.

Monday was conference day one. Steve Forbes was the guest speaker; he was very good. My wife enjoyed the workout facilities and the pool. After the conference, we headed downtown with friends and ate at the Triple George Grill. Very good meal at a reasonable price--it was our second time there, and it was just as good as we remembered. Downtown was rough on us (again) and we bailed fairly early. Back at the Aria, we did better with some slot wins and some "up" time at craps.

Tuesday was more of the same during the day--me at the conference and my wife relaxing. We decided to go see "Mystere" at TI. What a colossal waste of time for us. It was our first foray into the Cirque genre and may well be our last. We saw a cheaper and better show at the Beau Rivage over the summer--no need to spend $200 on circus acts for us. Others like them a lot; it just isn't our thing.

We walked to the Mirage again and I played craps next to a young man celebrating his 95th birthday. This was a "hold your own" session at best. Back to Aria. My first session ends with a slight profit...and dealers unwilling to count out the total color up...they called it $665 plus one... Before leaving, tossed the three reds on the horn and the single on a dealer yo...Boom...aces...$100 added to the stack.

I noticed that I had hit "Pearl" so I went by the MLife club to get the new cards and the guy at the desk called over to the hosts office and asked if they could do anything for me...they knocked $50 off the bill. New card in hand, I decided to hit another table. It was a grind and I left at about $530, which was a $30 profit. I took that $30 to another table, bet the 6 for $30 ($25 table) and stayed alive until one lady hit a decent roll. She would shoot and tell her man she wanted to leave and stop rolling after every roll. It was kind of funny but it slowed the game down a bit (okay for rating purposes, I guess). I colored up with a yellow chip after this roll--up $500 on the short session.

Off for a second night of room-service pizza and beers...

Leaving day comes way too soon. I play a quick session while my wife sleeps in a bit. Nothing spectacular but we've basically come out a couple hundred dollars ahead Sun-Wed after the mess on Sat. Still a down trip, but not nearly where I thought it was headed!!

Random thoughts--
Rio rooms are in bad shape. Our upgraded room was shabby. I overheard one dealer talking about me to another when I looked at a match play coupon (instead of offering help with the process)--I told him to go screw himself and played elsewhere. I was reading the damn thing to see what I had to do to use it...

Aria was very nice. It wasn't just the facility, which is great, but it was the people who worked there. Everyone was helpful and not snooty (Wynn and Encore are nicer room-wise but they are a little pretentious for me)--it was just plain fun being there, no matter how the play went.

I did get the one night we were going to pay for our room comped by calling the host office. That was a misunderstanding on my part--I thought we had three nights on the conference presenter; we only had two and one we were responsible for. I don't get why non-APs leave money on the table by not getting cards and ASKING for things. They may tell you "No" but they will never say "Yes" at the mid-level of gambling unless you ask. APs, well, there may be cover issues for them...

It was a good trip and planning is in progress for another conference in March...


aceofspades Oct 04, 2014

Nice trip at least you had a lot of non-gambling fun.

I enjoy the Aria as a hotel 0 so beautiful - what did you think of the vanilla jasmine scent they pipe through everywhere - it is amazing!

Also, happy birthday to the "young man" - great to see someone of that age out there enjoying life!!!

Mosca Oct 05, 2014

Nice report, descriptive and to the point. I agree completely about the "get a card and ask for things". I can't remember when it hasn't worked for something; you might not get everything you ask for, but you get something.

Posted by RonC
Jul 17, 2014

Doubled Up @ Golden Nuggett, Biloxi

The new look is very nice. Not as smoky and wide open. Good job!

Stopped by for lunch on a trip from Texas to Florida. Bought in for $500 and went large (for me) $5 pass w/ $25 odds and $12 6/8. 6/8 hit well on the only other player's roll; pressed it to $60 on the 6 with some wins and he also hit some points. Up $200 or so.

Took my first roll. PSO. Back to about $100 up.

The other shooter...same thing!

My roll. I hit a bunch of numbers and did a constant come bet with $25-$50 odds. Hit a few of them and a couple of points. Rolled about ten minutes but we were moving quickly. No time to sort chips--toss them in the rail, press the bet, roll the dice...

Up $500 in about fifteen minutes and I am out the door...these quick hit trips seem to treat me right!!

Off to the Keys!!

Posted by RonC
Jan 28, 2014

Craps @ Golden Nugget, Biloxi

I flew to Florida and drove back to Texas in our "new" car this weekend. The mid-point of our trip for overnighting seems to always end up being Biloxi. It isn't quite the middle, but it makes for a good place for us to stop, since we can get a casino visit in on our trip. I had to stay at another hotel this time; no rooms available.

I walked by the craps table while it was going through a run where everyone was making money. I did not see anyone with less than a full rail of chips; some were working on their second rail. There was no room to squeeze in, so I walked over and enjoyed a comped meal at the sushi place. It was very good; I enjoyed the upgrade from the noodle place that space held before. They still do noodles but have added a lot of other stuff. I had the off-menu "Godzilla Roll" which was great!!

There was $35 in free play on my account. Did not have any hits for over $1 using that free play on penny machines. Lasted about six minutes.

I did find a spot at the table and stayed there for the next three hours. The table was not as "hot" as it had been earlier but I won my first bet (point 5 for $5 and $16 odds) and stayed in the positive the whole time. I don't think I ever got within $50 of even once I moved above that point. I never found a "groove" at the table because the dealers were average or below and the box was horrible.

Why do I say that? The box could not keep up with the "All, Tall, Small" bet that sits in front of him. He missed numbers all of the time. I felt like a broken record being asked to tell him he was missing it (everyone was saying things; I am just louder than most) and trying to keep my bets straight with the dealers. It was actually "work" to play with this crew--no memory of bets, poor handling of the middle (bad) bets, and a general lack of personalities. It did get better when a new crew arrived but I was worn out by then...

I rolled twice in the three hours, so some people had good rolls but no one went over the top enough to make really good money. More aggressive players made more than I did; less aggressive ones lost out by not pressing anything. I would say that half of the shooters were within one roll of really helping me win a good bit--pressed to a quarter on the 4/10 (commission on the win only), they'd hit one 4/10 but not a bunch of them, etc.

I ended up with a tidy $300 profit, so I was happy. I watched a happy cute blonde turn into a snarly blonde over the three hours as she drank beer after was interesting watching and not drinking. It didn't help much (not drinking)--I still made way too many bad bets in the middle and none of them won for me...

My bets? $5 horn high 12 on the come out with a $1 dealer yo, $5 pass line with $10-$26 odds, and either a come bet or two with $10-$16 odds, the 6 and 8 for $12, or $52/$54 across. I couldn't stick to any one of the three different ways of betting for very long. I did press my "place" bets fairly often with some luck...and some immediate 7's after pressing all the numbers and taking nothing but $1 chips back...

It was good to be back at the craps table...


Alan Jan 29, 2014

You flew to Florida to get a 'new' car?

Where in Texas do you live?

RonC Jan 29, 2014

"New" to us...if it was new, I would have bought it here!!!

Southeast Texas...

Alan Jan 29, 2014

Oh, okay.

Me too. Going to Louisiana this weekend and may be able to get in a quick craps session at Amelia Belle Casino(Morgan City).

Posted by RonC
Oct 31, 2012

Casino del Mar @ La Concha (San Juan, Puerto Rico)

After being taken down hard by the casino on our cruise ship (Victory out of San Juan), it was time to get back in to a land-based casino. I do know that cruise ships are notorious for poor slot returns and below-average rules on table games, but this trip was ridiculous. Not a single win over $30 in a week of slotting for my wife and only one winning session at the craps table. So little was going well that I pulled back and saved some money for our day in San Juan...

We stayed at the beautiful La Concha resort. It was very, very nice. Our room was an oceanfront suite on the 9th floor. Great view of the water!! Expensive, but worth it...

We spent several hours in the casino over our short stay. Craps tables did not open until noon, so I mostly watched my wife play slots for the first hour or so. Though she still lost overall, it was a much better experience--actual winners over $50 and more small wins in two days than over the whole cruise. Much closer to even for her, which makes me much happier!!

I played three sessions of craps. The craps rules are not great (double on 2/12, double odds, vig upfront on the buy bets). The first session was kind of quite and I lost $50 or so before calling it. Nothing was happening and I figured I didn't need to go down $100 this early...

The second session was much better. The table was lively. There were tons of $20 buy-ins and people taking a shot but it did not take away from the overall game. The conversation was spirited around the table as people talked about the table--I picked up bits and pieces, but my Spanish is very limited. Hearing the calls in Spanish (except "seven out"...that one was pretty much always in English!) was interesting.

I played $26/$27 across with a pass line/odds bet most of the time. Each win on the place bets was pressed one unit. There were enough good rolls to cover my bets and an occasional very good rule that added chips to the stack. I never went below my $200 buy-in and moved from $200 to $750 or so over several hours. I wasn't overly aggressive after the shipboard beating; I just wanted to protect my winnings as they went up instead of going big. Once I got over $700, the table turned a bit and I cashed out.

The third session was much like the first and I cashed out down another $40 or so. Overall, we did okay in this casino. Coming away with more dollars than you bring in is always okay in my book!!

They were very free with match play coupons--two $5 match plays for each person buying in and the front desk would give you three of them if you asked. I would say I had about 20 of them total. That helped a bit!! They also offered free drinks. All in all, it was a nice casino to play in. The staff was friendly and I did not encounter anyone who took away from the experience. Well, just one person...the hooker who came up to me while I was playing slots was a bit annoying, but I got rid of her after a few minutes...


Wizard Oct 31, 2012

Thanks for the report. I'd like to visit the casinos of PR and the Dominican Republic one of these days.


...the hooker who came up to me while I was playing slots was a bit annoying

In case anyone is wondering, concha means shell in Spanish. However, it also is a slang term for what said hooker was selling.

RonC Oct 31, 2012

I thought the casino was "fun"...they had a singer on a small stage that looked to be between rows of slots and the atmosphere was festive for the most part. Some of the local casinos I frequent could learn something from that!!

dlevinelaw Oct 31, 2012

I'd just like to add that this was one of my favorite casinos in San Juan, out of the 9 or so I visited.

All blackjack games are s17 and set by the tourism company.