Posted by Toes14
Jan 01, 2013

First Visit to Hollywood Casino St. Louis

I went to the old Harrah's/new Hollywood casino in Maryland Heights last Sunday night for the first time since the change. Traded in my Total Rewards card for their Marquee card. They had me set up a PIN for the card, which you can use to transfer promotion dollars straight from your card to the machine you are playing.

I had a $5 slot play coupon they mailed to me, so it was a nice surprise when the lady told me I had $75 in promotional dollars. That was more than I would have ever expected given my minimal level of play. It wasn't free slot play either, but an actual cash bonus. I played a while with my usual lack of success, then cashed out $60 up.

They haven't made many changes yet, just the signage, employee uniforms, and rewards club. The restaurants are all still the same, as is the decor. One unfortunate change I noticed is that the bank of 9/6 Video Poker machines I usually played were downgraded to 8/5 machines. I noticed more 7/5 and 6/5 pay tables of Jacks or Better games too.

One other change I saw was the clientele. I've been there often on Sunday nights, and always saw a disproportionally large Asian crowd, as Harrah's catered to them with a decent Noodle bar and some Asian entertainers. That was not in play on 12/23. I saw a lot more blue collar and poor people instead, including a couple guys who appeared to be homeless. Maybe the close proximity of Christmas changed the demographics somewhat. I'll have to remember to check on this the next several times I go.

So while it's too early to tell how Hollywood really compares with Harrah's, they definitely got my attention with the opening promotional bonus.


midwestgb Jan 01, 2013

Thanks for this report. Penn is in for a tough road competing with Ameristar In that west St. Louis market. Interesting year ahead.

Tiltpoul Jan 02, 2013

Thanks for the report. Harrahs St Louis was a good property and I'm not surprised that Penn is out to destroy it.

The ONLY thing I'll give Penn credit for is the fact that their offers tend to be able to be cashed out across the board. They rarely have true "slot play" offers. No shock about the VP, though depending on when you went there, the changes could have been in effect from the CET regime. Penn is notorious for having terrible Video Poker.

I would expect the Asian room to disappear with renovations that will be on the horizon. Penn has never gone out of their way to appeal to that clientele, instead favoring the party and glamor atmosphere that represents Hollywood. Even their largest properties have only a couple of baccarat tables mixed in with high limit gaming. I wouldn't expect that Ameristar will be quick to pick up that customer. Don't be surprised if Casino Queen makes the attempt for that market, and succeeds. They always had a lot of baccarat tables, and although they don't have much room to expand, it's not a group you want to ignore.

tringlomane Jan 06, 2013

I went today, and I believe Hollywood isn't trying to screw over video poker just yet; they still have the best paying machines in STL. The bank of 8 games to the right side of the poker room still exists, and two of those machines are 99.8% Triple Bonus Plus and 99.69% Super Double Double Bonus, both having better payback than 9/6 JoB. I talked to a floorman today, and he said the ones to the left of the poker room are off the floor due to remodeling, but he believed they had them in storage, and may come back.

Also, after I got home, vpFree said there are some Game Kings that are full-pay available in the VP area by Grill 21. I missed them this time :(, but I am going to look for them next time to verify. They are supposedly are 8 of them along a red wall by the ACE$ Bonus Poker Progressive. (Maybe those are the ones you saw downgraded?) It also says they have 99.66% Bonus Poker on those, which I would play before JoB (variance isn't that much worse).

Toes14 Jan 12, 2013

No, the Game King VP machines along the wall across from the Grill 21 were the ones I was talking about. The JOB games were 9/6 previously, but are now down to 8/5.

Toes14 Jan 18, 2013

Ok, another update. Went there today and checked out those Game King machines again. They still have the 9/6 paytables for $0.25 & above. The lower paytables are for smaller denominations.

Posted by Toes14
Feb 05, 2012

Trip Report

Went to LV from 1/7 - 1/9 with my brother. Had a good time, but not great due to a lack of luck at all forms of gaming. Here's a summary:

Got a great deal on direct flights from Southwest Airlines. $211 round trip from St. Louis, including all taxes & fees. Stayed at the Rio. Check in was quick, with only two people in line in front of us. It was 3:15 Saturday afternoon, so not a peak check in time. Didn't bother trying the $20 trick. Got a room in the Masquerade Tower, 14th floor towards the SE end. Nice large room, older stained sofa. Safe won't open. Not a great view.

Got settled then hit the sports book in time to get some bets in on the New Orleans-Detroit wild card game. We both grabbed sandwiches from the Sports Deli. Excellent, but pricey. $14 for Hot Pastrami on Rye + bottled water. For some reason I changed my original stance and bet Detroit to cover and the under. I blame my brother for telling me the about the Saints-Lions regular season game. I should remember that I always do better than him at this. Lost both of those. Also bet on 3 college BB games and one 4 bet parlay. Lost 3 of 4 on those, with only Murray State covering. Decided against betting on St. Louis U -22, only to see them win by 26. Oh well. Lose $40 on that.

My bro went to play some 3CP, so I wandered and found a Rapid Roulette 'table'. I picked the wrong seat, because 5 minutes later some very attractive young ladies sat on the other sides. A few minutes after that, some 75 year old geezer with what appeared to be 2 asian assistants? sits next to me lights up, and starts blowing smoke directly at me! I asked him to aim it the other way and get a noncommittal grunt, then a rapid fire conversation between the three in Mandarin. He's betting $150-200 per spin, and quickly blows through $500. I could tell he was still sometimes blowing smoke right at me, but never caught him directly. Just when I'm about to cash out to get away from him, he decides to leave. I play a while longer but was now in a bad mood from the encounter. Cash out breaking even for that session.

I move to a deuces wild VP machine. Not many decent pay tables in sight, and I've already discovered that the BJ tables are only 6:5 payouts. Disappointing. Play for 30 minutes, am down $20 but hit a few good hands in a row and get back to even. Meet up w/ my brother and walk over to Gold Coast. Not what I was expecting. Very heavy Asian influence, way more pai gow table than Black Jack tables. Only 4 BJ tables, and 2 are not open. One other is $25 minimum, and the $10 table is full. I move to the craps tables instead. There's a full $5 table that looks like it's been taken over by a bachelor party or a fraternity, with a few odd stragglers. Guys are 3 deep waiting to get a spot, and it's a loud, fun table.

Not wanting to wait an hour to get a spot, I move to the other open $5 table, with mainly middle-aged & older Asian players. The dealers are compatant, but quite and not friendly. The dice go against me pretty quickly. I'm betting $5 PL, 3x odds, and placing the 6&8 for $6 each. Too many 7 outs cuts my $200 buy in basically in half after only 15-20 minutes. I'm getting thirsty - where is a cocktail waitress? My losses slow some, and I even roll a few winners on my turn. Then the next 4-5 shooters go dry and I decide the cut my losses. Lose $85. I find a 9/5 JOB game and play that for 30 minutes. Still no cocktail waitress. I drop another $17, then find my brother. He's been playing 3CP, won a little bit, and had great drink service the whole time. I guess I need to try that game sometime. We find another bank of VP games we like and a cocktail waitress. I only lose $5 on this one, but at least I'm no longer thirsty.

We head back to the room, grab some coupons he had and take a cab to the strip club. We'd both heard of The Library, but couldn't remember where. Probably got taken on the cab ride there - $35 from the Rio. Luckily his internet coupon got us free admission and a free drink. The bartender even made them strong. Unlucky, that was the best thing about this place. I guess it's great if you like women in the 175-250 lb range, with lots of cellulite and average at best faces. The less said here the better. Yikes!

The cab ride back was only $25 by a different route (not Flamingo to Boulder Station). It was after midnight locally and after 2:00 for our bodies, so we called it a night. Definitely one of the most forgettable days I've ever had in Vegas. Luckily, Sunday would be better.

Posted by Toes14
Dec 07, 2011

One Month from today!

I will in Las Vegas!!!!


teddys Dec 09, 2011

So excited you can't even finish your sentences, huh? :)

HotBlonde Dec 09, 2011

You will what in Vegas????

Face Dec 09, 2011

He accidentally the whole thing! ;)

Toes14 Dec 10, 2011

Oops! Let's fill in the blank. I will _______ in Las Vegas.

A. drink

B. win

C. hurl

D. be

E. party

F. hopefully all of the above except C

1BB Dec 10, 2011

G. Get married by Elvis while in a drunken stupor-you not Elvis. Elvis can't drink like he used to. It goes right through him now.

FleaStiff Dec 10, 2011

Perhaps "live" in Vegas.

odiousgambit Dec 10, 2011

whew, you are really taking a beating. As for me, I assume you are a poet, and are tantalizing us... it'll be something like,

"I will in Las Vegas be, footloose and fancy free!"

Toes14 Dec 11, 2011

actually, Teddys was right. Just too excited to finish my sentence.

HotBlonde Dec 12, 2011

Well I agree, nothing gets me more excited than a Vegas trip!

Posted by Toes14
Nov 27, 2011

Thinking about moving to the dark side . . .

Played craps at River City Casino is south St. Louis last night. Lost $65 in an hour. Was generally a fun table, with three 20 something guys all craps virgins a few spots from me. Table was about 2/3rds full, but only two of the shooters ever really got on rolls. I hit 6-7 winners in a row one of my turns for what was probably the 3rd best of any of the shooters. There were just too many 7's being rolled within 2-3 rolls of the point being set.

It got me considering switching to Don't Pass bets, but I've never bet on the dark side before, and am a little unclear on some of the differences (besides the obvious one). I was betting $5 pass line + 3x odds and placing the 6 & 8 for $6 each. I don't make Come Bets, so I'm not worried about Don't Come bets.

If I switch to Don't Pass, do I still work the odds bets the same way? If not, how? Do I still make Place bets the same, or is that different? If there different etiquette for Don't bettors? (I've heard you get odd looks if you shoot the dice as a Don't bettor.)


FleaStiff Nov 27, 2011

Heck, make those dealers EARN their money. Ask them these questions.

Odd looks? No, you get Even looks... Even you are entitled to make your own decisions about your own money and your own entertainment!

I'm often "From the Don't Hoping They Won't". Its no big deal.

Yeah, its a bit different on the odds...... but at the five dollar level it ain't going to be all that much.

If you are on the Pass line you are TAKING odds, if you are on the DontPass line you are LAYING odds because you are betting on the favorite (the Seven is most likely to appear so it is the favorite). So make those dealers work and answer your questions.

Place bets are utterly different bets and you can make them or not make them as you feel irrespective of a Pass line bet or Dont Pass Bet. You can still place the six and eight. Your summarized position is thus that you would like the shooter to be rolling Sixes and Eights, perhaps for awhile but you don't want him to roll his point number, you want him to eventually roll a Seven. There is no great shame in that. And when its your turn to shoot, there is no big deal about betting that you will NOT make your point.

odiousgambit Nov 28, 2011

I agree that I have never seen anybody care whether or not you are betting on the darkside. But I have never seen anyone 'cheer' for craps or the 7-out, supposedly that can get you some looks. When you are shooting and darkside, you still give up the dice after a 7-out, even though you won.

Laying free odds: for 3x4x5x, you put up the same dollar bet [to stay max] each time, you have taken on the convenience the dealers were enjoying. If you stay with laying max bets free odds, your same length of session means you have been betting more. If you don't want to do that, a somewhat shorter session is in order. Of course you don't have to max the free odds, you might for example cut back on or eliminate the free odds bet on 6 and 8. Do not agree to take "no action" when you have that point, though, what the dealer is actually asking is if you want to remove your line bet, which at that point you are more likely to win than lose.

As far as a strategy to change your luck, it doesnt seem to work for that. This can literally be true, for example you have the ability to use the same set of roll results in wincraps [stayt tuned to my blog] and run that same set of results for right betting or for darkside betting, and find you come out a loser either way. This is especially true for a long number of rolls.

odiousgambit Nov 28, 2011

oh yeah, if you are laying odds on the Don't line, where you put the chips down yourself, you put them adjacent to your line bet [not behind] and it may need to be looking a certain way. I'm not on top of this all that good... you want to ask the dealer if you are doing it right as far as bridging or heeling. Maybe someone can speak to that.

FleaStiff Nov 28, 2011

A Dont Pass Bettor will position his Odds Bet next to his Flat Bet in such a manner that the dealer, when paying off, will have his hand arrive at the Odds Bet first.

Doc Nov 28, 2011

Don't worry about the other players when you are shooting from the dark side -- or even when shooting from the right side. When I was in Tahoe in October, I was playing craps at Harvey's, and a "don't" player and I were surrounding the stick man. When he shot the dice, I kept encouraging him to make his point, saying how I loved dark-side shooters. It was all in fun, and the guy had a fantastic roll (from my right-side perspective). Once, when he had a point of 8, I dropped a buck on the table in front of the stick and called, "Hard 8 for the shooter." The guy on the other side just laughed and said, "You've got a wicked sense of humor." I suspect that you are more likely to encounter that kind of kidding rather than serious negatives. I think I may have posted part of this story somewhere else around this forum, maybe including the incident when the dark-sider had a point of 9, and I tossed out a buck calling, "Hop the 5-4." He had to ask the stick what that bet meant, and after the explanation he immediately rolled 5-4. It was such an outlandish event, that he stepped behind the stick man to give me a high-5, laughing all the way.

Posted by Toes14
Nov 18, 2011

January Trip Booked!

My Brother and I are going to Vegas for three days in early January! Got a nice deal on the flight from Southwest Airlines. $95 each way, $212 total round trip including taxes & fees. I was able to get a direct flight both ways at very convenient times too. (No waking up at 4:30 for a 7:00 am flight for me!) Booked a room at the Rio for $67.50/night.

We'll probably end up gambling more at the Gold Coast since it's right next door to the Rio and has lower table minimums and the same or better odds on craps & blackjack. Items on the itinerary besides gambling include:

Lunch or dinner at Triple 7's Brewpub
hit the Fremont Street Experience (since I've never been downtown)
visit the Pinball Museum
breakfast at Hash House a Go-go
enter a low level Texas Hold'Em tournament
see the Canadian Ballet at Sapphire, Spearmint Rhino, or one of the other clubs
some of the free stuff I missed last visit - the Mirage volcano, the TI Siren show, etc.


dm Nov 19, 2011

I always found the breakfast buffet at GC to be excellent and dirt cheap.

ten2win Nov 19, 2011

Could you elaborate a little on the "Canadian Ballet"?(I'll bite!)

Toes14 Nov 19, 2011

Canadian Ballet = strip clubs

JohnnyQ Nov 20, 2011

Yeah, the GM/CHRYSLER/FORD crowd referred to as the

Windsor Ballet. Not sure if it is still up there or not, or

even what the name of it was...

Anyway, since you will have a car, check out the sirloin

special at Ellis Island. Red Rock Casino and Red Rock

Canyon are another couple of cool destiinations you

can combine in one trip.

Toes14 Nov 27, 2011

Not getting a car this time, but thanks for the recommendations anyway.