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3/5 - 3/8 - Low rollin downtown - VP golf, zombies

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by DougFur, Mar 10, 2015.

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  1. DougFur

    DougFur Tourist

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2013
    Messages:
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    Trips to Las Vegas:
    10

    My Trip Report

    Background

    I usually come to Vegas with my girlfriend (“LP”), but last weekend I met up with two of my buddies - one from LA (“L”) and the other a fellow Seattleite (“S”). The three of us did a previous Vegas trip about five years ago and we decided to repeat the adventure. We booked rooms at the Downtown Grand and planned to do some low stakes gambling downtown and possibly on the Strip.

    L and I planned to arrive Thursday and stay three nights. S was to join us on Friday.

    Executive Summary

    This report is really really long, so here’s the short and sweet version:

    - Downtown Grand is a great hotel in my opinion. Comfortable room, good service. I’ll definitely stay here again.
    - Eat (near Container Park) has terrific breakfast/brunch.
    - Sigma Derby at the D is a terrific way to spend an hour
    - Major League Soccer gets no love at Vegas sports books
    - If you want the Verbena drink at Cosmo, get in early because they stop serving it at 6pm

    Now for the gory details…

    Thursday March 5

    My travel to Vegas was pretty smooth. I took the light rail to SeaTac, quickly cleared TSA Precheck, and stopped by Qdoba for a burrito.

    We land about 10 minutes late but I'm still hoping to catch the 108 bus that leaves at 9:36. I couldn't exactly remember how to get to the bus level in Terminal 1 but walk up just in time. I put in my $2, the driver gets on behind me, closes the door and starts off. LP knows how much I enjoy making a transit connection. Already winning!

    Check in at the Grand was smooth. L’s flight wasn’t landing until 11, so I headed to the Fremont to find the DSTP nickel machines. I quickly found them between the blackjack tables and the casino bar, popped in $40 and started playing. There were no notable hands, and about 45 minutes later I cashed out down minus $30 but plus 1 beer.

    I headed back to the DTG and hit the 6 deck blackjack table until L arrived. It was a fun table with a personable dealer and a group of folks that were in town for a college basketball tournament. L soon arrived and I cashed out up $20.

    I was eager to introduce L to the Boar’s Head Bar at MSS, so we dropped his bag off in the room and made the short journey. We each slow played $100 while enjoying a couple of pints. I had the High Roller and their IPA from the rotating tap. The VP wasn’t noteworthy — neither of us hit a quad, so no scratch cards. I cashed out down $25.

    Next we headed to the Golden Gate to play blackjack. We played about an hour and I ran pretty well - winning almost $60.

    L was graving McD’s so we headed to the Plaza. He got his fix and we headed back to the Grand to crash.

    Day total: +22
    Trip total: +22

    Friday March 6

    I woke up at about 8:30 and couldn’t get back to sleep so I showered and headed to Walgreens to get some Gatorade. Now properly hydrated I returned to the Grand to play BP until L got up. This was my best VP session of the trip as I hit a couple of quads. When L arrived I cashed out up $90.

    LP and I have some regular restaurants we frequent when Downtown, but there was one we hadn’t tried yet - Eat over by Container Park. L and I headed there to check it out and it did not disappoint. I had the tofu scramble and he had the chicken fried steak. The food was nicely prepared and presented and the portions were generous but not overwhelming. Service was also quite good. $40 total with tip.

    We wanted to kill some time before S arrived, and I wanted to play the DSTP nickel machines at TI that LP and I found back in December so we decided to walk to TI from downtown. The weather Friday was almost perfect - mid 70s. Along the way we stopped in the Riviera to bid it farewell as it closes in May.

    Eventually we found our way to TI, signed up for player cards, and found the DSTP machines. We both bought in for $40 and played triple line BP for nickels. Drink service was flowing but the quads were not. Around 4pm I busted out and it was getting time to meet S downtown so we caught a cab back to the Grand.

    We played BP at the Grand until S arrived. No notable hands and I cash out up $15.

    The full group is assembled so we decide to kick things off with a round of craps. Bad idea. We each buy in for $100 and it’s gone in under twenty minutes. I was playing $5 pass line with 2x odds, and I think the table only hit 3 points while we were there.

    We head across the street to the Triple George for dinner. I had the Urth burger, L gets rivoli, and S gets a Fred Flintstone-esque steak with a huge exposed piece of bone. The food was quite good but the service was a little off. There were two different servers who seemed to be fighting for our table. The first server came over and started to take our drink order and was interrupted by a 2nd server. The two of them continued to both serve our table throughout the meal, periodically stopping by and asking us the same questions (like whether we wanted dessert). L said he heard them arguing around the corner from the dining room when he left to use the restroom. It was a bit odd.

    The three of us are all soccer fans, and the MLS season started Friday with LA hosting Chicago. We agreed to go in together on a $100 bet for Chicago (major underdogs) so I ran out of the restaurant to get the bet in before the 7pm kick off. Betting on MLS in Vegas is always an adventure, as the bookies never seem to know what you’re talking about. The guy at the book at the Grand was friendly and finally found the game in his sheaf of paper and entered the bet right before kickoff.

    Unfortunately we hadn’t thought about actually watching the game. MLS’s TV coverage has improved, but the marquee games were slated for Sunday. This game was on UniMas and the Grand didn’t have that in their DirecTV package. We called the Plaza and the Nugget, and neither said they’d put it on. Derp. We debated streaming the game in our room on a laptop, but agreed that was a pathetic way to spend a Friday in Vegas, so we gave up and decided to head to the D for some Sigma Derby.

    S likes the ponies and hosts an annual Kentucky Derby party with his fiance. He’d never heard of Sigma Derby but I was sure he’d love it, so I just told him we were going to do some horse betting. When we turned the corner from the escalator at the D and he saw the machine he started cracking up. We got $40 in quarters from the cashier and shared a single spot on the corner.

    None of us had played before and we took a bit of time to figure it out, but after a few minutes of completely random betting S and I devised a “system” which we became increasingly enamored with over the next hour or so. Our system involved taking a couple of medium odds (10-15x range) ponies on 2 credits and then a “hedge” quarter on a 4-5x pony. I’m sure in the long run this is as dumb a thing to do as anything, but we kept hitting the medium odds races. Unfortunately we had a leak — L was siphoning off quarters to bet the 200:1 long shots. We kept at this for a while and eventually ran our machine up to 105 quarters (from about 20). We cashed out and contemplated what to do next.

    I had been researching Texas Holdem Bonus (and UTH) since my December trip but had never played it in a casino. Holdem Bonus is less common these days, but the variance is much lower than UTH since there are no graduated odds on premium hands. L and S were unfamiliar with the game but thought it sounded fun so we stumbled over to the Fremont and played a very simple strategy that I’d simulated in Java that had an element of risk of about 1.2%. What a fun game. I bought in for $100 and eventually busted out, but S ended up about even and L made money. I really enjoyed the table vibe which was far more festive than a blackjack table. It was also playable while fairly buzzed, which is a plus.

    One curiosity I had prior to the trip was how Boyd rates Holdem Bonus. I regret that I was not more scientific about figuring this out, as I didn’t check my card score before and after, but I’d estimate that I was rated at about $600/hr betting a $5 ante. So it looks like they rate it at $15/hand * 40 hands/hour.

    So what next? I had read trip report a while ago where a group played “slot golf” so we decided to do a VP variant of that with the following rules:

    Go to 5 different casinos. At each casino:
    - Find a bank of VP machines, preferably at bar tops to accelerate drink service
    - Put in $20 each
    - Play until busted or up to $30
    - If 2 players make it to $30, the last can cash out early if they like

    We decided on the following course (based mostly on whim)
    1) El Cortez
    2) Four Queens
    3) Golden Nugget
    4) Golden Gate
    5) MSS

    Hole 1: El Cortez

    The game starts off slowly as we meander through the El Cortez looking for a bank of three machines. The bar is completely full, so we settle for some deuces wild machines. I don’t know the strategy so we all pull it up on our phones, put in $20 and get started. We soon realize a kink in our plan — there’s virtually no drink service. All of us are super-slow playing our machines biding time for a waitress to come by. One eventually does and we get our bud lights ordered. More waiting. L and S both hit the $30 with S hitting a wild royal with $3 left.

    The CW never returns so L marches off to buy our bud lights from the bar. On the way out S gets distracted by the bubble craps machine and does a quick buy in. He makes another $10 there and we’re off.

    Hole 2: Four Queens

    We hit our stride here, settling in at the bar and getting prompt drink service from the bartender. L hits a quad and S hits another wild royal! I hit nothing and bust out.

    Hole 3: Golden Nugget

    We find a bar. It’s about 2am and we’re starting to drag a bit. S has the genius idea to order Bailey’s and coffee. I finally have some luck here, hitting a quad. S also makes the hole and L opts to end the hole early and we move on.

    Hole 4: Golden Gate

    It’s much busier than last night, but there are 3 open spots at the bar so we continue. Sand trap. We all bust out before we finish our drink. S heads over to the roulette table and makes a few bets and gets another drink.

    Hole 5: MSS

    S has been playing deuces wild at each of the previous 4 spots, while L and I had switched to BP. MSS doesn’t have deuces at the boar’s head so S has to switch. We get the strategy up on his phone, but he’s grumbling about it. L hits a quad (scratch card!) and I go on a small run and hit $30. S chases but eventually busts. Due to the lack of Deuces Wild he claims to have played the final hole under protest.

    S ends up winning, with me solidly in last place. After all that booze we decide to get some food and head to the 777. The graveyard menu is pretty limited. I had some sort of omelette with potatoes and honestly it was pretty inedible. But at 4am what can you really expect? We headed back to the Grand and crashed.

    Daily total: -202
    Trip total: -180

    Saturday March 7

    I wake up around 8:30 again, toss and turn for another hour, and then reluctantly get up. I’m surprised to find that I’m not that hung over, so I put on my gym shorts and hit the gym for about 45 minutes. S shows up about 30 minutes later, which doesn’t surprise me that much. We both have this philosophy that if you run for 30 minutes while on vacation you can do unlimited abuse to your body the rest of the day.

    I head back to the room and L is getting up. We decide to head to the Beat on Fremont for lattes before breakfast. S meets us there later and we head back to Eat for brunch. Another excellent meal.

    S booked a massage at the Wynn, so we caught a cab there together. L and I wanted to check out the TAG bar so we walked down there and played some VP. We had a variety of delicious beers while slow playing. A few hours later S joined us and we decided to head to the Cosmo to try the verbena drink.

    Along the way we saw the half price show ticket place and took a gander. Before the trip S had joked that we should see the Zombie Burlesque show, so we looked at prices and it was $32 so we got tickets for the 8:30 show. The booth gives you a voucher that you exchange for tickets at the theater so we headed over there to do that.

    Tickets in hand we cross the street to the Cosmo to see what the fuss is about with the verbena drink. We head to the Chandelier Bar where we learn they stop selling it at 6pm. We’d missed it by seven minutes.

    We head upstairs to Holsteins to grab a burger and have another great meal. L and I ate there back in June and we were both interested in returning. They have the urth burger here as well, but I thought it was much better than the version at the Triple George. Better bun, better fixins, better fries. I had a pint of the Holstein lager which was decent but nothing special.

    Back to Planet Hollywood to kill some time before the show. We find some triple line nickel machines and play for a while before we bust out and head to the theater for a drink while waiting to be seated.

    The show was better than I expected, although my expectations were pretty low. The theater is small (about 190 seats) so you’re pretty close to the stage. The MC was pretty talented and in my opinion really carried the show. He sings a bunch of numbers, did some improve crowd interaction, and did a decent job of keeping the show moving. The theme is pretty silly and the show doesn’t take itself very seriously, so overall I give it a thumbs up.

    After the show we catch a cab back downtown and do another round of Holdem Bonus at the Fremont. All three of us enjoyed that game and L had a great run of cards. S and I each cash out down about $30 while L made at least $100.

    After hitting the Plaza food court for a snack we go to the Cal. L and S want to play craps at the Cal, but after a couple of 4am nights I’m pretty spent, so I leave them there and head back to the Grand.

    Daily total: -100
    Trip total: -280

    Sunday March 8

    Daylight savings takes an hour of sleep from us, but I wake up feeling rested. We met S at the Grand bar where he’s playing VP and having coffee and Kalua.

    Hash-Hash-A-Go-Go is selected for breakfast, so we head to the Plaza where I was expecting a line. Happily the place has plenty of open tables and we’re immediately seated. I’d never eaten there before and I thought it was decent, but no comparison with Eat. S got one of their huge bloody mary’s which he thought was pretty good.

    We head back to the Grand and hang out playing VP for an hour or so until it’s time for S to head to the airport. Once he leaves L and I head to the Fremont to play Holdem Bonus, but the table is full. We walk by the sports book and notice that the Orlando City/NYFC game is on ESPN2. We head back to the more comfortable sports book at the Grand to watch it, and in the 60’ they turn the game off. Figures. We walk to the D and finish watching it there.

    Although our flights are a couple of hours apart I decide to head to the airport early with L. We get some food there and chat a while until his flight.

    The Sounders were playing at 6:30 so I went to the C gate area and asked a couple of bartenders to put it on, but neither carried Fox Sports so I listened to the KIRO stream on my laptop. The flight home was uneventful and arrived early.

    Another successful trip in the books. LP and I are returning in April for a couple of nights, so I won’t be away for long. Thanks for reading!

    Daily total: +50
    Trip total: -230
     
  2. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Good report! Glad you had better drink service at TI when I played those Double STP machines. I definitely should have made a better effort to get back there last trip.
     
  3. DougFur

    DougFur Tourist

    Joined:
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    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    Thanks tringlomane! Yeah maybe I've just been lucky at TI but both times I've played there the CW came around really often.

    BTW, your last report was one of the reasons we headed to the TAG bar.
     
  4. kramer99

    kramer99 Tourist

    Joined:
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    Nice report.

    The 6pm Verbena thing at Cosmo doesn't sound right to me. Just last week I tried it, and it was at least 10pm.
     
  5. TomTWI

    TomTWI High-Roller

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    Loved the report it's the way I used to do Vegas low rolling with buddies. Now I'm a super low roller lol.

    TomTWI
     
  6. TIMSPEED

    TIMSPEED !địt mẹ!

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    That's about right for UTH and THB...most casino's rate you at table minimum (even if you play more)
     
    Palace Tower Suite!
  7. DougFur

    DougFur Tourist

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    Interesting. Yeah it was my buddy that talked to the bartender so I didn't hear the full conversation. Sounded odd to me too. Next time!
     
  8. Wezvidz

    Wezvidz High-Roller

    Joined:
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    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    I've always loved VP golf concept, trying to convince my friends to do it on our trip in May.

    More fun will be a sidebet on final winner based on keeping score at each stop ie units cashed out - score for that stop (units if people are playing different denoms).
     
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