Posted by PerpetualNewbie
Aug 29, 2011

I'm beginning to think the player's biggest enemy is...

Their own bankroll.

As a (low-level limit) poker player, I'm a bit nuts about having a more-than-adequate chipstack when I buy into a table. I typically buy in for ~35 big blinds - that's $200 on a 3/6 table. Coming onto a table as nearly the big stack, I naturally fend off some of the stupid bluff plays (In low-level limit poker, no less) by simply not being in a position of having to put myself all in. Further, by having the value to cover the full potential of my hands, I can extract maximum value for the times I hit my draws.

I never had the same attitude for table games. I'd bring $100 on to a $20 PGP table or a $15 BJ table. And, especially in BJ, after an hour (or 10 minutes, once..) I'd be getting up from that same table without any chips. One bad run of cards ruined me out.

I tried something new yesterday. I went onto a $5 BJ table (S17, Double Anything, RSA, DAS, 6 deck shoe with a 4.5 deck penetration - ~.33%) with $100 and $400 more in-pocket. And the funny thing was.. I went down $100 at a time.. I came up $150 at a time.. but as I was able to weather those storms, I never really strayed too far away from the range of [-50,+50]. In the end, after 5.5 hours of 2-handed, $5 flat betting, I was up one unit - $5. It paid the tip for a small comped meal for my wife and I.

If nothing else, this experience taught me something. When you bust out and walk away, you effectively lock in that loss. And, unless you're playing a double-or-nothing strategy (or, my modification is usually +75% or nothing), people are far more likely to bust and walk away than retain any value in their buy-in.

I suppose this goes into the question of "why do you gamble?" For a while I was playing poker with the rent money to have any supplemental income for the week. And I won more than I lost for years. Thankfully I'm in a much better place. But, still, my competitive spirit drives me to win. And while I understand that will never happen in the long run, I can do what I can to ensure that I have the best chances possible. I now understand why some of you say that you need ~$1,000/day to play $25 BJ.

Unfortunately, my revelation was completely upstaged by my wife who took nearly $200 playing 4/8 for the same 5 hours. If 1 BB/hr ($8/hr, in this case) is the mark of a successful poker player, she completely outdid herself that time. The entire table cheered when I pulled her off the table to eat and go home.


FleaStiff Aug 29, 2011

Yes, one of the casino's major advantages is the size of its bankroll. It can keep spinning that wheel relentlessly grinding down anyone else's bankroll. When you get to zero you have to stop. When the casino gets down to the felt, it just negotiates a further letter of credit from the bank and keep on playing. Eventually ... that house edge comes to the casino's rescue.

I think you should have left your wife there to clean out that table but good!

Posted by PerpetualNewbie
Jun 20, 2011

The week leading up...

In a little less than 168 hours, my wife and I will land in Vegas along with another couple. This is familiar ground for me and the missus. I've been to Vegas a dozen times in the 10 years that I've been of age to gamble. Half of that for her. We have a fairly set routine when we travel for a week-long vacation. Our home is cleaned top to bottom. Cars have any nagging minor maintenance taken care of (oil changes, etc) and are cleaned. Everything is in tip-top shape when we leave and we get to return to a nice, clean fresh home.

There's an energy about us in this week. Vegas is (sorry, Borgata [Atlantic City, NJ]) our happy place, now that we've moved out of Jersey. We read up on what's new. I load my smartphone calendar with all of the meal specials, performances and general Vegas errata I might be interested in - color coded by Downtown, Strip and "other." I've already ripped out all of the coupons in the ACG and put them into 3 envelopes of the same organization.

The hotel room is booked (Nugget, Rush room.. wondering what kind of upgrade we might score with a Landry's card). Flights have been taken care of long ago (2x $420 tickets + 2x $10 tickets [and too many FF miles], average of ~$215/pp). Car rental is in place. Everything's done. It's just a matter of time and containing that energy.

The last time we were in town was February. And the block of Fremont East directly south of the ElCo wasn't quite hopping as it supposedly is now. And there's a new mob museum on the strip with a second one coming downtown Real Soon Now... The chatter has reached a constant buzz of little things to do and breathing life into memories of past trips. We discovered downtown for the first time this past winter. We're looking to see that same space have some life breathed into it in the summer season.

And we bring virgins. Vegas virgins, that is.

Our friends have never been to Vegas. Hell, this will be their second plane trip in their lives and their first together. We had to talk the husband half of the couple out of bringing his handgun (really, a concealed carry into a casino? That's gonna fly well) and his xbox (he's afraid of getting bored). He's a bit straight-edge - doesn't drink, doesn't know if he wants to gamble. As the de facto tour guide, he's my loose cannon that I need to make happy.

She's genuinely clueless about what she's got in store for her. She's gone with me to Coushatta Casino (Kinder, LA) three times. She's sat on the Pai Gow table and pulled in a couple hundred bucks, neat and tidy wins. But there's nothing at Coushatta. You drive in, gamble, drive out and leave. There's no entertainment, no strip/FSE, no constant shows, bars, blah blah blah. She's over-thinking things. I got her covered - no matter what she or her husband want, I can figure it out... make it happen.

I bought her own copy of ACG. And with all the new-player discounts, they should get stuff ridiculously cheap. I've already taught her how to play Pai Gow (my vice), and am sure she'll get a working knowledge of BJ, craps, etc. before it's all done. We've got a few activities on the radar (Trop Mob Museum, Mme. Tussaud's, Pinball HoF) and at least one show (Penn/Teller, although I want them to see Ka. That show rocked my world). There's so much to do and only three full- and two half-days to do it all in!

And so the week starts. Soon, I'll be back there. Soon...


FleaStiff Jun 20, 2011

Have fun, bring back lots more money than you left with.

And teach that guy some game before you get there, otherwise he is liable to fixate on the Big Six Wheel or something embarrassing like that.

DJTeddyBear Jun 20, 2011

Are you planning a trip to the Neon Museum? Tours require reservations.

If that guy really starts to miss his X-Box, point him to Insert Coin(s), the arcade on Fremont, just east of L.V. Blvd. It's aimed towards an adult clientelle. Either that, or push him into the shark tank.

Have fun de-virginizing those crazy kids.

odiousgambit Jun 20, 2011

Your friend might wind up not gambling... my brother did that recently in Vegas, and I once did that a long time ago in the Bahamas. It gets couched as 'oh i don't gamble' but there is also an element of intimidation involved as these places do not make themselves friendly to the newbie. Anything you do to initiate things properly, note I say *properly*, is going to help a lot. Etiquette and other matters that you now may take for granted will be unknown to him unless he has made an effort to look into it. You should instead fill him in and encourage him to find stuff on the internet that helps like these sites. And for God's sake steer him away from making sucker bets!

ten2win Jun 20, 2011

We stayed in the Rush Tower at the Nugget last month. We were in a corner "junior" suite. It was beautiful. That tower is well thought out, especially the no-smoking thing and it being away from the rest of the hotel.

I tried using the Landry card too. They said no up grade since I had already booked the "special" rate for the room in advance.

The other nice thing is the parking deck is right across from the Rush entrance. They'll give you a Hotel Guest slip and you can come and go from the parking deck free for your whole stay.

We ate at the Carson Street Cafe almost every morning for breakfast. That place has been in the Nugget for years.

We really enjoyed our stay. I really like being downtown to be able to walk to other casinos when I want to.

PM me if you have any other questions. You made the right're gonna love it!

PerpetualNewbie Jun 20, 2011

The neon museum is taking it's vacation the same week we are. Bastards. If you live in Vegas.. where do you go vacation? Maine? The weather's nice and cool? I dunno. That's on my to-do list for next time, along with the downtown Mob museum.

Yeah, he's missing a few social graces, anyway, so I'll be very verbose about special etiquette and tipping and blah blah blah. I just consider it part of my job as Vegas Tour Guide. I'm hoping I can show him that it's all not evil and that the wins and losses even themselves out in the long run - A little more losing than winning, but that's the cost of having fun.

Maybe I'll take the girls out and buy him a hooker..

hook3670 Jun 21, 2011

My Brother in law, wifes brother, got married in Vegas two summers ago. My wife and her father and step mother are avid gamblers. Brother in law doesnt really drink or gamble so we were perplexed as to why he wanted to fly from Virginia to vegas to get married. Actually part of it was leaving the step relatives behind but he just wanted to see what it was all about. He actually had a good time, now granted two out of the four days were taken up with wedding stuff but between the hotels and shopping and a couple of shows he went to, he had a blast and actually was talking about going back in the near future, so there is hope!!

Ayecarumba Jun 22, 2011

Excellent! Be sure to take the newbies to see the Bellagio Fountains at night. A definite must see for first timers.