Posted by Tiltpoul
Mar 01, 2012

Horseshoe SI Trip (en route to Tunica)- Day 1, Mar 1-2

So if you followed my thread I started, I have officially turned 29 and 12 months today. I decided I needed to do something I enjoy in a place far removed from anybody who might try to throw me a surprise party. After putting it to a vote (and deciding I can still do Vegas later), I opted for a Tunica road trip. Since I live in Ohio, this has me going through Louisville, so obviously I have to stop at my favorite casino, HSI. I am at the hotel right now.

First off, dang those gas prices. They fell a little today, but they are still high. Bad timing, I suppose, but I will have to factor that into some future trips I was planning. I got down here around 8:30, with very little traffic and an uneventful drive. I checked into the hotel, got to my room, then made my trip down to the buffet.

The Paula Deen Buffet, I think, is pretty good. I know there are a lot of people who dispute this, but I believe it to be two steps better than the old buffet. Maybe I'm taken by the charm of the remodel, but I like it. The banana pudding is to die for! I'm a bit disappointed I'm only receiving one buffet coupon a month instead of two or three like I used to, but Caesars is cutting back in general, so I'm glad to get something at all right now.

I got to the boat a little after 9pm. I had a $20 Slot Play (Must be used on slots, no VP), and $15 I could redeem at midnight. I didn't bring too much money with me, since I want to gamble more in Tunica. Tiles didn't open up until 10pm, so I wanted to play the slots a little slower. I went to Deck 1, and found a Black Tie Triple machine, .25, 2 credits. I put the 20 in, to get 80 required spins. After the 80 spins, I cashed out +9.50, though I did tip at dinner, so I'm only up 8.50 now.

I didn't want to leave since the walk to the hotel is long, so I decided to play PGP Fortune. After a rough first two hands, it settled down, and I even got some bonus hands. They changed cards in the middle, so that ate up some time. Funny story from this: The guy I sat next to had NO clue how to play and didn't ask at first. He set two pair, 9s and 4s, with a KING in the back, with 8-6 in the low hand. Ironically, playing the correct way, he would have lost, since the dealer pulled a three pair. I ended up helping him, which he ended up winning more then. I left up $15, and at 10pm, went to Tiles.

The dealer was Robbie, and he's very personable. We played heads up for the entire evening, with many people sitting down, asking how to play, and promptly getting up when I tried to explain it to them. It was a $10 table, and I played the min every hand. Of course, I hit a nice run, but then it went south. I left that table up $60. While I was at the table, a supervisor switched me over to the new TR card. If you haven't seen it, it's pretty different. I'm not sure the distinctions from Diamond and Gold are as apparent. We'll find out more when I get to Tunica.

Finally, I redeemed my $15, which I played a .50, 3 credit machine, and ended up with diddly-squat. I put my TR card in to check my point balance, and sure enough, I had another $5 on there (maybe because it was my b-day). I went back downstairs to the Black Tie Triple machine, and on the last hand hit 3 7s for 80 credits. I cashed out $20. So far, I'm up 88.50, which isn't bad since I was playing boring tonight.

Now I'm back in my room and will try to get some sleep. I'm a little wired, so we'll see if I get the 5-6 hours I'm planning for. Probably not, knowing me. This time, I will try to keep the blog updated as I go.

See you on the flipside...


FleaStiff Mar 02, 2012

Its Southern Indiana. I had to google it.

Tiltpoul Mar 02, 2012

I apologize... I use the acronym HSI all the time; it's to distinguish it from Horseshoe Hammond, also in Indiana but near Chicago.

TIMSPEED Mar 02, 2012

Happy birthday fellow 82'er...

miplet Mar 02, 2012

Happy birthday fellow March 2nd'er.

teddys Mar 02, 2012

BTW the SM BJ machines will take your freeplay coupons if you insist on a game with a low house edge (tho variance is high, obviously).

Tiltpoul Mar 02, 2012

Yeah, I've used them on the Shufflemaster machines before... the only thing is you don't even fill out a reward credit unless you play $45 worth. I'd like to get a little credit, and one time I hit for $1200 on one of those, so I can't complain.

Posted by Tiltpoul
Dec 04, 2011

Tunica Trip Part 1- 12/3-12/4

This is my last free two day period until mid-January, so I decided to make the most of it. It's a bit of a drive down to Tunica, MS, but I used to live closer and haven't been down for about 4 years. On Friday evening, I started the drive down to Mississippi.

Some things about the drive first. I went through Louisville, so I stopped by my favorite, Horseshoe Southern Indiana. I cashed my FreePlay coupon, then played some Pai Gow Tiles. Table mins were only $10, so another guy who had never played sat down. We had some fun, and I got back on the road about an hour later. The drive through Kentucky was pleasant and I got to Nashville about when I was expecting to. However, after stopping quickly for some food and gas, I got back on the interstate and was the first in line for a rescue crew who had to overturn a truck that flipped over the bars on the side of the road. It was a huge ordeal (and I thought the picture taking by all the crew with their cell phones was kind of tacky.) I ended up parked there for about 40 minutes, so I pulled over and slept for a little bit. I then woke up and finished my drive down to Tunica.

I got down to Tunica about 5am local time. My first stop was at the most Northern casino...

HARRAH'S CASINO/HOTELS- For those not familiar with Tunica, this is the closest to Memphis. It used to be Grand Casino, until CET bought the joint, selling off the former Harrah's which is now Resorts. When it was Grand, it was one of the largest casinos outside the coasts in the country. CET came in, renovated, put up new decorations that make it look like the upscale Harrah's (think North Kansas City or Joliet), and added a Paula Deen Buffet and Gift shop. The result: Second floor gaming gone, first floor is more spread out, less table games, and the poker room is now there too. They also put a huge circular bar in the middle that divides the space. While I know the physical outside space didn't change, all the other changes make it feel much smaller than what it is... and I'm not sure that I like that personally.

Anyways, I played some Pai Gow Poker this time around. The table min was $5, and the game had both the Fortune bet and the JoKolor. If the dealer had been playing the JoKolor bet, he would have been sweeping up. For that short period, he had the joker nearly every other time. Another lady sat down on the other end, and hit the 30-1 payout (she was playing $5 on it) on her first hand. I was the one who pointed it out too; the dealer and she completely missed it! They have a thing that you can play two hands, but you can only set one hand. The other requires it to be the house way. I think that's a bit silly, but if that's their version of game protection, so be it.

I ended up about even, and decided to walk around some more. Games include BJ (Single deck, 3:2, no DAS; Double Deck and 6-deck, DAS, RSA, No surrender, ALL H17), Texas Hold Em Bonus (Straight or better), TCP (1-3-6-30-40, plus 6-card, no million dollar payout). Video Poker offerings are lousy to downright awful (mostly 8-5 JoB). They do have (I later discovered) two Shufflemaster BJ Table machines, oddly enough with two different rules. Both are $3 mins, one table H17 and allows surrender, the other S17, but no Surrender. I don't think I've ever seen two different table rules within 10 feet of each other (actually, up in Detroit, different games with side bets were like that, but those were still live games....)

Incidentally, this was the first Paula Deen Buffet, so the layout is a bit different than at HSI. I'm not sure I like it, as you purchase buffet entries in the gift shop, then walk through a weird line to get in there. Once I was inside, I remembered how the old buffet was set up, and realize that the changes were mostly cosmetic; the buffet is still pretty far back and spread out. The food overall is really good, although I still have my favorite buffet in Tunica at the Big Kitchen Buffet (more to come in next post).

I stayed at Harrah's hotel from 12/3-4. I had a free room at the Veranda hotel, although if I had booked a few days earlier, I could have had a fantastic rate at Tunica Roadhouse (the old Sheraton, a SUPER nice hotel). Anyways, the Veranda hotel is a bit of a shadow of its former self. It's very clear that, while room improvements were welcome, they have done NOTHING else to the hotel. To be honest, it feels a bit worn and threadbare. There is a STRONG air freshner as soon as you walk in, and the hallways to the room were downright fruity smelling. I was on the very end of the hotel (I should do a thread on that), and there is a draft, as the hallway was cold near my room. My door was also partially open, so I entered with caution. Everything was fine, but I did tell the front desk immediately that my room had been compromised. They didn't seem too concerned with it at that moment, but then again, I did check-in about 8 hours early with no hassle so beggars can't be choosers.

A side note: They do clearly state that if using a debit card that it can take a while to have the charges removed from your account, but my experience in Vegas and everywhere for that matter is the charges are removed within a couple days... not so here, at least at my bank, so just be aware that you're deposit could take a LONG time to come back to you. It's been a week, and they are still holding the $50 required deposit. I know the goat I slaughtered in my room got messy, but come on....

The other thing I don't like about the Veranda hotel (or Terrace hotel for that matter) is the distance from the casino. They run shuttles to the casino 24-hours, but they are often full at peak times, so you still end up having to take a car over. I'm not very patient when it comes to those things, and I feel odd not tipping, but frankly, it's not my fault the casino is that far away. However, you are near the golf course, so if that's your thing, a stay at either hotel is welcome. There is a spa over at the Terrace, and although it's been about 4 years since I've been, I did my one time indulgence at that spa, and found it to be nice, if not empty.

Okay, enough review about Harrah's. I have decided to do this blog in multiple parts, since I can't find time to finish it all at once. If anybody actually follows this, I'm sorry for the delay.

Posted by Tiltpoul
Nov 30, 2011

Erie, PA/NY Trip- 11/29

So after my casino journey to Philadelphia, I learned I had one casino left in PA to get to. I work in retail, and a day off this time of year is valuable. So after getting laundry done, groceries bought and DVR shows watched I decided to complete my chip collection of the PA casinos. I wanted to do the trip before the weather gets bad (as it was, we had flurries last night, but nothing serious at any point on my drive). First stop, Erie, PA...

PRESQUE ISLE DOWNS AND CASINO- This casino is owned by MTR Gaming, how also owns Mountaineer Casino in West Virginia. If you've never been to Mountaineer (I've only been once), it's HIGHLY themed to the "Roarin' 20's." Outside of the silly dealer and cocktail outfits like at Resorts AC, all the slots and casino areas are set up like Prohibition era Chicago. At Mountaineer, it's very fun, and seems to work. Apparently, they feel they can take the same theme and do it at Presque Isle... unfortunately, they can't. It's a jumbled mess and definitely the cheapest looking of the PA casinos. It actually reminded me of older Native American casinos.

So the theme is half-assed, but at least the table minimums are lower than what I expected. I thought I'd see higher mins as Cleveland doesn't have an operating casino yet. Most poker games, roulette and craps were all $5, BJ was $10 and Pai Gow Poker at $15. BJ rules are standard PA rules: s17, surrender available, DAS, DA2, No RSA. Craps didn't have odds posted, but stingy field. There are maybe a TOTAL of 10 VP machines that aren't bar top. The schedules are pretty lousy too.

I decided to play some poker. I had a hard time finding the poker room, despite what I thought was a sign clearly pointing it out near the buffet. It's actually upstairs, way away from the main casino, and in it's own room. The game is 1-3, and the table I sat at was basically a bunch of gamblers. I tried to "bluff" once, got called, but still had a better hand than the caller. I played a bit too tight, then too loose, so after losing $200, I decided to give it up. My reads were okay, but it's hard to read hardcore gamblers.

I went down to Pai Gow Poker. It was a $15 min, $300 max on the main bet. They had $500 chips, which I found kind of odd. Then, I saw the table, which is the standard bonus table in Vegas. However, the bets spread on the bonus was $1-100. It also had a $40,000 maximum aggregate. This would really screw the main bettor if at a full table with envy payouts. Anyways, I had some good luck on the table, and didn't lose a hand for a while (I pushed a bunch). After losing my first one, I walked up $30. I decided I would go ahead and make the drive out to Niagara Falls.

SENECA NIAGARA- So apparently Seneca Nation covers a lot of Western New York. It's interesting to see signs saying when you are NY, and when you aren't. The casino, located in Niagara Falls, NY, is located in Seneca Territory. It is across the pond from Canada, and if you have a passport, there are two other casinos you can visit. I unfortunately do not have one (I miss the days of just needing a birth certificate). I found a creepy self-park area (there was a nice garage I apparently missed) and headed on in.

I knew this casino was big, but I was surprised by how overwhelming the main area is. It's in a hangar and it feels huge. When the table games area seemed small, I knew there was more to it. I walked around for a bit, and found a Three Card Poker table with... get this... the old pay table on the Pairs Plus!!! It was a $10 min, but I was so overjoyed to see a 4-1 table, I sat down and played. I got my card set up through the table and got a flush! Woo hoo, a 4-1 payout! Shortly after that, I got a 3-of-a-kind (6's, so apparently I'm the devil) and left the table after a dealer hot streak up $225!

I walked around trying to find both the cashier and the poker room. The cashier was back in the main hangar area. On the way, I found an empty Spanish 21 table (S17). I decided to give it a go... big mistake. It doesn't matter if I play perfect strategy lately... I'm on a nasty streak in this game. I need to just give up Blackjack cold turkey, but it's hard when you enjoy it. If I keep up on this nastiness, I will probably hate it, so give it a few more shoes.

To make a long story short, I ended down $80 on that table. I cashed out, and tried to find the player's club booth so I could get the $10 free slot play on my card. I asked a security guard where the player's club booth was. He said "What?" I said "Where you get a player's card" He said, "Oh you mean Promotions." Am I so Midwest that I'm the only one who uses that terminology?? Well, I got the $10 set up and played some 7-5 Bonus Poker and cashed out with $15. For those keeping track, the whole trip I'm only down $10, and technically $8 since I had two $1 chips in my pocket. I decided to do the extra hour drive and made my way to Salamanca, NY.

SENECA ALLEGANY- The road was very backroads to get there, but eventually I saw the casino sign on the hotel. The parking garage was quite tall and a TON of spaces were roped off, why I have no idea. I walked in, and saw the table games area.

Btw, BJ rules at both casinos are S17, NO RSA, No Surrender, split to up to 3 hands. When I got here, they had a lot of $5 tables. There were only about 33 tables in two pits. This is clearly an afterthought to the much bigger and nicer Niagara. I went to the craps tables (5x odds) and let a lady finish her roll. She left, and I did my roll. I caught a point and a few come bets, and afterwards, was up $9. I decided being down $1 in gambling for the trip was fine, so I walked around a bit, and headed back to Ohio.

Overall, the trip, while a bit whirlwind, was a lot of fun. I don't see myself going up there again, as game selection was surprisingly limited at the Seneca casinos. My experience has been that the Native American casinos are looser on rules and often have the newest and best options... this was simply not the case here. But I can now say I've driven in New York....

Next stop, Tunica, this weekend. Then it's a break from casinos until mid-January.


teddys Nov 30, 2011

You think $80 is bad? Try $325, in two hours, betting $10 the whole time at S21 at Horseshoe Hammond. Still the most bizarre session I've had.

DJTeddyBear Dec 01, 2011


I decided being down $1 in gambling for the trip was fine...

You were down $1?

You mean, like, a whole dollar?

Sounds like a win to me! LOL

boymimbo Dec 01, 2011

Seneca Niagara's casinos are looser as they are competing for Canadians. Sorry you couldn't come over to my side of the river. Fallsview is quite nice.

Face Dec 01, 2011

Yup, sucks about the passport. I lost a lot with that mess.

The Seneca Nation actually doesn't cover much at all. In fact, in the Falls only the casino grounds are it's territory. Cross the street and you're back in NY (but don't cross the street, it's yucky up there =p) I feel ya on the garage, though. Been there for training probably 15 times and I still don't know how to get in, I always use the self park lol. Did you happen to look up while you were there? They have an old school cat walk like in the movies, where we can go out with binocs and scope the floor.

Too bad you couldn't pop over the river to the land of Molson and strange money. I haven't been to Fallsview in 12 years, but I remember it being nice there. Plus there's more to do, and less of that feeling you're about to be shanked.

Make fun of my commute if you'd like, but I never have to worry about traffic. Deer, dogs, occasional pigs and loosed farm cows, yes, but no traffic. ;) Kinda funny you mentioned the garage; it's been going on for 3 weeks and none of us know either. But you'll find no better sunset view than from the roof of that garage. Just stunning. Allegany is much more slots focused, as I'm sure you can tell. There's just not enough population to support much else, all other tables and table games have come and gone, moved out for more BJ or more slots.

Thanks for stopping by! Just don't come in winter. Our BJ may be 3:2, but that's also the ration of roads that get plowed to those that don't.

AZDuffman Dec 01, 2011

The roped-off garage at Salameca may be due to a new hotel tower coming soon. The place is always booked so a new tower is going in. Lots of OH plates in the lot and they seem to get some acts in the showroom that helps fill it. If they would just put say $10 per room to pave I-86 above standards of the Bangledesh DOT it might be nicer yet.

As for Presque Isle, well, having gone to college in Edinboro I am sad to say Erie locals just do not have the highest of expectations after the fall the city has taken economically since the mid 1970s. Only city I ever lived in where they sports leads with local high school results and "we will have NFL scores right after this commercial!" So I am not suprised the casino is as you say.

You can get into and out of Canada w/o a passport if you have an enhanced drivers license. I just have a passport but some people don't want one or can't wait. It is complicated so do know before you go.

Posted by Tiltpoul
Nov 21, 2011

PA/AC Trip- Part 3 of 3

If you are continuing to read this blog entry, thank you. I enjoy writing about my journeys, and maybe someday, I'll be able to make a career of it!

If you haven't figured out at this point, this trip was completely impromptu. I decided to throw it together at the last second, got a room at Showboat AC, and decided to go for it. By the time I left Harrah's Chester and drove to Atlantic City, I had been up for at least 30 hours straight. Surprisingly, I wasn't as tired as I thought I would be. When I got to Showboat, I decided I would see if I could early check-in and I'd go up to my room and sleep. Of course, being in AC, and only there for about 30 hours, I thought I would have to make the most of my trip. I decided to proceed to the Showboat floor and see what there was to be offered.

By the way, one complaint: check-in took much longer than it should have. I was in the Diamond line, and another person was in the Platinum Line (a tier lower than Diamond). However, I saw that he had a Diamond card. There were two or three people in the Gold Card line who moved quickly through check-out while we waited. I think the two guys in front of us were both with some sort of convention. They should probably have a separate line, especially since they didn't seem familiar with Total Rewards from what I could tell.

I wandered into the Asian room, which is a bit higher up off the main floor. I decided to play some Tiles, at a $15 min! I always play at least $20, since I hate quarters. As the afternoon wore on, players got up, and there were three of us. One guy banked, so I decided I would too. I always hate banking as most Asian just sit out; I realize it's their choice, but I feel like on Tiles I'm invading their game, so I try to avoid upsetting others. Anyways, the tiles were nice (as were the dealers) and I was able to leave up from the table.

At this point, I may not remember the order of how things go, since I was dead exhausted. But I headed over to Trump Taj to get my player's club card and see what was going on there. Turns out I had a free $10 in slot play, which could be used on any machine. I played it on a video poker machine, cashed out with the $10 and got up. I walked over to Resorts and found the casino to be pretty much like Trump Taj; empty with lower than expected minimums ($5 in most cases!)

If you haven't been to Resorts lately, it's gotten a bit silly. They are going with the "Roaring Twenties" theme, meaning everybody and that means EVERYBODY (except pit supervisors) has to wear period costumes. Dealers have the silly visors and armbands, cocktail waitresses have their controversial skimpy flappers outfits. My favorite was a very overweight doorwoman who I saw in the Red Outfit with box hat (think Monopoly slot machine). I only saw her from about 100 feet, but she looked like she wanted to kill herself. I camped out in the Asian room, with a Tiles table all to myself. The dealers and I were having fun choosing dealer sets for my banks, but I couldn't get anything going. I decided to head to Showboat for the Seafood Buffet.

What do you think of when you hear Seafood Buffet? Crab Legs? Lobster maybe? Well, I expected more than peel-and-eat shrimp and oysters on the half shell. Call me crazy, but if I'm going to spend $25 (even comped) for Atlantic City's only "Seafood Buffet" I want more than those options. They did have some crazy good Mac-and-cheese, but it was quite the ripoff. Save your money for some real food.

My initial plan was to go out to Harrah's at this point, but my body said I needed sleep. I was going to sleep for 4 hours, but my alarm on my new phone sucks, and I ended up getting six hours of sleep. Oh well; I definitely needed all the sleep I could get.

Off to the Marina, where I wanted to see Golden Nugget and Harrah's. When I made the wrong turn, I decided to go to Harrah's first. After walking around a bit, I found a Mississippi Stud table. I like this game in small doses, but my cards were sick in a bad way. I stayed too long and got crushed. I left in disgust and drove a while before I figured out how to get to Golden Nugget.

I have to say that so far I'm impressed with what they are doing to Golden Nugget. Yes, it's still got the Trump Marina feel to it, but the few things that have changed so far are pretty cool. I can't wait to see what it will look like when it's all done. I decided to play some craps, and I was in for quite a bit when one guy shot. I had every chip on the table with my last $5 to come... all odds on all the numbers. The guy went on a streak I haven't seen in a while. I ended up getting basically everything back, and double that! He wouldn't have rolled a fire bet, but he sure rolled a lot of numbers.

After cashing out, I thought about going to Borgata... then I couldn't figure out where to park. I also figured out that I'd have to pay for parking, but my transfer receipt wouldn't be good past 6am. I didn't know how long I'd be there (I intended on playing poker there) so I instead drove out to Caesars/Bally's.

Credit goes to those who designed the roads in A/C. The signs are very clear on how to get places, so I stopped using my GPS... it usually screwed with me anyways. Anywho, I got to Caesars an walked around like I always do. I settled on a Tiles table with a non-Asian dealer. The supervisor was very interested in me, and she seemed genuine about it. We discussed the plight of Atlantic City, and after a few losses I caught a nice streak. I had a 3/4 that won (which is always cool). They closed the table after a while, and I was up about $100 so I was fine with that.

I decided to walk over to Bally's and see if I could continue my winning streak. There was an empty Spanish 21 table, so I pulled out my handy strategy card (Thanks Wiz!). The dealer had never seen a strategy card on Spanish, which kind of surprises me, since nearly all the casinos in A/C offer the game. Regardless, the dealer went on a killing spree, and I was down quite a bit within mid-shoe. Eventually, she cooled down and even started out on a winning streak. I ended up down, although not as bad as it could have been. I changed my game plan and headed over to Trump Plaza.

If you haven't heard, Plaza is now offering a lot of cheap games. This includes $3 craps with 10x odds. Both things are unusual for A/C. After a few rolls, I wasn't going any place, and the crew kind of bored me, although I met a very interesting guy to my left. He was from New York and wearing a Boston Red Sox shirt. I asked him if that was legal to do it, being a Midwest boy and only knowing that those two things don't go together. He said he hated the Yankees, and that's why he's a Red Sox fan. I guess it takes different people to rule the world.

Back to Caesars, and off to Tropicana. Well, I THOUGHT I'd park at Tropicana, until I saw the $10 parking fee, even for their top tier guests. I was mortified, and decided to park at ACH, which is more of a walk than I anticipated. They had a nice player's club promotion going on at ACH; play $25, get $25 in slot play. Come back 48 hours later and do it again. I wasn't going to be there that long, but I played some bad VP (I guess they got rid of all the good ones) and ended up a bit ahead. Then I played craps, where I won a little bit more, although I would have won a lot more if I had passed the dice the second time.

ACH is billing itself hard as a "locals" casino, but I didn't see many locals. They did have a Tiles table openfor $10, which nobody was playing. The casino is looking really ragged, and I bet it closes once Revel opens. It's just too far out of the way, and Tropicana is still a walk from there.

Speaking of which, I went to Tropicana. I was surprised by how busy it was at 9am. Many tables were busy and the buffet line was ridiculous. I walked through the Quarter, although no stores were open. It's a nice property, and it looks like they have a rockin' party pit on the weekends. No 6:5 BJ either, which is good. I played craps there, but the players were surly, and the dealers were mouthy, so I decided not to stay too long. I drove back to Caesars to catch a glimpse of their shopping area.

The Pier Shops are nice, but the back area is kind of scary, as there is nothing open. I know times are hard, but they really need to do a better job getting some stores in there. After a walk through there, I played at Bally's while I waited for the Buffet to open. The Tiles dealers were very nice, and one was a non-Asian, who apparently has a handle on here! I was up a bit, so I got my food at the Caesars buffet (which is nice, but not as nice as you would think), and decided to get my poker action on at the Borgata.

One thing I've found out about myself is I don't play poker well when I'm tired. I should never have played there, but that room is INCREDIBLE. The setup, the number of tables... it's all overwhelming. To put it quickly, I lost, but I was the 8h away from $75,000, as two of us flopped a gut shot straight flush draw. I won that pot, but would have gotten more if the board hadn't paired on the river. If only the 8h had hit instead of the Ah....

After the poker, I was too tired to do anything, so I went to my room and slept until 11pm, when I had to get back on the road and head home. It was an exhausting trip, and I probably won't drive it again... but it was a lot of fun, and an adventure I won't soon forget.


FleaStiff Nov 22, 2011

Footloose and fancy free. Its a great life style to be able to do these trips rather whimsically or perhaps I should adopt your term "impromptu" but I think if I say whimsically it will introduce the topic of your game and casino choice as well. Its always a coin-toss between trusting the GPS and the maps/signage. Signage about seafood buffets should definitely be more honest too. If you enjoy Tiles so much, I'd of made inquiry concerning availability and minimums but it seems you encountered sufficiently entertaining availability though somewhat whimsically. The worst effect would be on your sleep, meal patterns, etc. I'd never "give the house the edge" by being sleep deprived. You may have no control over room alarms and darned if people don't maliciously set those things to disrupt the next guest, but you sure have control over your own phone alarm.

Check in lines? I know of one salesman eons ago who was so familiar with the Hertz rental procedures he was telling her which boxes and to turn the page. Businesses tend to lose focus. Rental car companies want to make it a pleasant experience and give you just the car you want instead of realizing their customers want a car Now and Cheap, the darned clerk can go smile into some mirror and recite corporate slogans later. Its the sameway with hotel checkins, pleasing the out of town conventioneers is great, but holding up a line of your prime tier customers is absurd.

You seem to have done fine on the bottom line, but I was struck that the whimsical selection of the next casino and next game may have carried over into whimsical selection of food and sleep schedules which is a poor way to give the house an edge enhancement that they don't deserve.

teddys Nov 22, 2011

I remember the first time I wnet to AC I was so gobsmacked (even after being in Vegas), that I stayed overnight in one of the cheap dives on White Horse Pike just because I hadn't seen everything in one day. It is very overwhelming just the bulk of it all. Still one of my favorite destinations. Surprised you didn't visit any of the Diamond Lounges. Was it because of the $10 upcharge? Wish you had given advance notice -- there are good upgrade plays at Trump Taj and Borgata for Diamond card holders. Anyway, it was in my blog.

Posted by Tiltpoul
Nov 20, 2011

PA/ATrip- Part 2 of 3

When we last left off, we were at Sands Bethlehem, and it was about 7 am. So now I get to head to the Philadelphia area in rush hour traffic! Oh boy... this should be fun.

My GPS this entire trip did a decent job getting me around. There were two times when it kind of screwed up; first, on the way to Mount Airy it had me take a back road that was infested with deer. I was quite nervous in the middle of the night about hitting one, but managed to avoid antlers through the windshield. The second time, from Sands, it took me on a back road up a ridiculously high hill. It may have been fastest, but I nearly rolled back when starting the engine up again after a stoplight...

PARX CASINO/RACETRACK... I was a bit surprised to see this casino split into two buildings. I later learned that "Parx East" is where the racetrack is located, and there are a few slots, table games (including an Asian room) and the Poker room in this building. I did not see the poker room, but downstairs there was a cool board that showed what games were going on upstairs. This was very helpful. The Asian room has Mini-Bacc ($50! min on Tues. morning), Pai Gow Tiles ($50 mins), and BJ ($15 mins). Surprisingly, this casino was much busier than the main one, despite only a few games being open at the time.

I discovered this casino after going to the main one. This is fairly large, although not as big as Sands. After walking around, I could understand why nobody was playing the table games. They were ALL at LEAST $15 mins. This included TCP and craps. Bacc in this casino was also $50 mins. I understand wanting to have high table mins, but if it's slow, drop them for a bit and give people a break! Reluctantly, I played $15 BJ. After a few hands, I realized why I don't play much BJ anymore... I get a 20, dealer gets 21. I get BJ, push, Double down on 11 against a 6, get a 2, dealer has 17. After a guy sits down mid-shoe without asking and pulls a 21 to a dealer 20, while I have 19, I decided I had enough.

Btw, the dealers in this casino seemed the surliest of the ones I visited. I probably will never venture to that casino again... so on my way down to Philadelphia I went...

SUGAR HOUSE CASINO... After reading a history after the fact, it seems like this place was lucky to open at all. It is QUITE small, but very colorful and it really did have a sugary kind of feel to it. Tiles was available, but at $60 mins (with yellow chips), I opted against that. They did have Ultimate Hold Em at $5, but everything else was $15 mins. There was one craps table, with 5x odds, at $10 min, so I decided to play that to get my $1 chip. The staff at Sugar House was INCREDIBLY friendly; the best of the entire trip. The table got hot, so I made some money and they were having fun, but they seemed to really enjoy working there. After winning a nice sum, I walked back to watch some Tiles. A supervisor asked if I knew how to play, and I said I did. We had a very nice conversation before I cashed out and left.

If the minimums were lower, I'd make a special trip back out to play there again. I REALLY liked the staff, but man, those table mins on a Tuesday morning were BRUTAL.

HARRAH'S CHESTER... I'm pretty sure when I parked, across the street I saw a prison. I found this to be odd, and they did have signs offering security to your car all over the place. Regardless, once you are in, it's relatively safe.

The poker room is on the second floor with the racebook. There were quite a few tables, and it looks like they'll holding a Circuit Event soon. I went upstairs to the casino, which not only is high up, but is also quite long. Everything is basically located on the floor, including the Diamond Lounge and Buffet. At the time, they had a promotion where if you played 30 minutes, you get a free buffet. I decided to play some tiles at $25. Many of the dealers were non-Asian, which surprised me. There's not an Asian room, but the pit of Tiles and Bacc is Asian themed, and I'm pretty sure I was the only white guy on the players side of the pit. The game was not as good for me; one dealer pulled a High Bo/Gee Joon. After a loss, I decided to get my free buffet.

When I swiped my card, it said I qualified, but it did not print a ticket. A lady who had me go first said it was acting up for her. I realized what happened, fixed the machine, and she swiped her card and got the ticket. I tried my again, and it said I already had my ticket. No biggie, I thought, I'll just go to the promotions center on the other side of the casino. After getting there and waiting, the lady told me I had qualified, but to go back to the buffet and "they'll take care of it." Now if these two things were next to each other, I don't have a problem doing that, but I was not about to trek ALL the way back, only to have the buffet to tell me to go back to the promotions area. Luckily, a supervisor came in at that time and just wrote me the comp. I have to say, for a Harrah's, this was the worst service I have received at a player's club booth. The woman was a bit rude when I said I would be quite mad if I got back there and I had to come back up front.

Nontheless, I got my free buffet, and I'm glad it was free. The selection was mediocre and the food wasn't all that well prepared. But for a "free meal," it was passable. It does overlook the race track, so during races I'm sure it's really awesome to watch the horses.

Those are the PA casinos... I'll get my whirlwind trip to AC on here soon


rdw4potus Nov 20, 2011

Nice reports!! I've been on that steep hill in Bethlehem, also at the direction of my GPS. It's the only time I can recall experiencing the sensation of falling over backwards while in a car.

How much play did you give Harrah's? I played PGP for about 3 hours and VP for maybe 2 hours in September, now they give me an insane amount of (for me, unusable) comps. Like, $40/day in december. If I were a local, I'd be there all the time for sure.