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A killing in Vegas, but not the good kind

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by higgiel, Mar 23, 2014.

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  1. higgiel

    higgiel Low-Roller

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    Location:
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    My Trip Report

    It’s been more than a week since we returned from our most recent Vegas trip. I’ve finally stopped crying – well, almost. (Yesterday I finished our taxes and got more bad news there.) I lost more on this trip than on any other. It was soul-crushing. But aside from the gambling, we enjoyed the trip. We got away from cold miserable weather in OH, saw a wonderful show, and spent some quality time with my brother (B) and his wife (C). Since B&C are both retired now, we tend to spend even more time with them and less going off on our own. This is not a bad thing as far as I’m concerned, but DH likes getting out and about more. Maybe it would have been better if I had let him drag me all over town. Maybe next time.

    We usually travel to Vegas on an afternoon flight and return home on an early morning flight. This time we flew out at the crack of dawn and returned around noon. I much prefer the way we did it this time. We got in a half day of gambling on that first day. And arriving home late makes us ready to crash that first night home, which helps with the adjustment with jet lag. Our flights were on Southwest, with connections through Atlanta. Everything was on time. And, for my money, you just can’t beat the free baggage.

    WEDNESDAY, FEB 26
    We started off at our Vegas home, Red Rock. I started off playing single line and then triple line 9/6 DDB. I hit a few quads, but none of the bonus quads. I then moved on to 9/5 TB+. I decided to start strong and play at the $.50 level, even though I am usually a quarter player. Playing a 99.8% game seemed like the best time to try this, but it didn’t work this time. I went through three Franklins with nothing. I went back to quarters and hit a couple of quads, but none of the bonus variety. We quit early, returning to my brother’s for dinner, one of our few home cooked meals. Quad total: 5

    THURSDAY, FEB 27
    We started off at Suncoast, where DH and B played in the daily poker tournament. The guys didn’t do well in the tournament. I hit several quads, including 2’s and 3’s w/o/k and 2’s w/k. C was dealt Aces w/k and also got Aces w/o/k and several other bonus quads. We had lunch at the Café and then dropped B&C home and DH and I went to Red Rock. I hadn’t had nearly enough VP yet. Playing TB+, my second hand was Aces for 1200 credits. I hit a few more quads, but still ended up a loser for the day. Quad count: 15.

    FRIDAY, FEB 28
    We played at Red Rock all day. I started off trying my hand at the Reversible Royals games. It is an 8/5 DDB game and the RR was at $18,120. These machines are seldom in play. I don’t think I’ll play them again. I found that I was evaluating every hand by whether or not it could be a RR. It really messed with my regular enjoyment of the game. That probably wouldn’t happen if I played it more often, but I’m not willing to play a 96.78% game when there are plenty of 98.98% games available. But that being said, I hit 2’s w/k and one other quad. It was one of the few times I cashed out a winning ticket. I played some triple play DDB and hit a SF and a couple of quads, but just broke even. I tried TB+ again and hit Aces, but there were just too many losing hands and I finished the day down. We returned to the house mid-afternoon to rest up a bit and have dinner. Then we headed down to the strip to see the Ray Romano show at the Mirage. We had seen him several years ago and knew it would be good. He did not disappoint. We didn’t do any gambling at the Mirage. It was crowded, but we managed to get to the valet, retrieve our car and head back to Summerlin in record time. Quad count for the day: 8 + 1 SF.

    SATURDAY, MAR 1
    Again, we played at RR all day. It was an awful day. I hit only two quads all day, another serious drain on my bankroll. Enough said.

    SUNDAY, MAR 2
    We returned to RR, hoping against hope for better results. It was quite a fortuitous day for B&C. First B hit a royal. Then C played her favorite dollar progressive Bonus DW, where she periodically plays a Franklin through. She hit the deuces for a nice grand. Then she hit the deuces again, this time with the Ace for $2600. And then B hit another royal! It was quite a day for them. I hit 2’s w/k at DDB and 2’s w/o/k at TB+ - the preferred way to hit these hands when switching between these games. But there wasn’t enough else happening and I chalked up another losing day. But we did let B&C treat us to dinner at Lucille’s BBQ restaurant. It was quite good, certainly in my top 3 for BBQ ribs. It was not quite enough to remove the awful taste of my lousy VP results. Quad count: 9

    MONDAY, MAR 3
    RR again. Why? There aren’t any better payout machines available. But clearly, you can lose on even full pay machines, if you are not hitting quads (or royals). I played only TB+ and hit Aces, 2’s, 3’s, 4’s and a straight flush. As I was wandering around looking for some luck, I saw a woman who had clearly found hers. She was playing a five-play $2 game and hit a royal for $8K. I shuddered to think of playing $60 a hand. Only later did I realize it was an Untimate X game, so she was playing $100 a hand. This was my first winning day, but not enough to dig me out of a very deep hole. Quad count: 11.

    TUESDAY, MAR 4
    We went to Suncoast to try to change things up a bit. We played at the SportsBook bar, our usual location. My brother grabbed the machine where I hit my royal last July. I played nearby and was dealt 2’s w/k. C one-upped me by being dealt Aces w/k. And then B hit his third royal for the week! Naturally, I was happy for him, but frustrated by my own poor showing. In that session I was dealt AAAKK. Naturally I tossed the two K’s and drew the other two K’s! Crap! I hit a few more quads, but still lost for the day. Quad count: 8

    WEDNESDAY, MAR 5
    This was another Suncoast day. No royals today and not too many quads. I was dealt quad Aces, but couldn’t draw the kicker. I would have felt very disheartened if I had known those were the last quad Aces I would see. Instead, I had to learn that the hard way, day by day. I only hit two more quads all day.

    THURSDAY, MAR 6
    We went to Sam’s Town, hoping to run into a friend of ours who deals in their poker room. We learned that he didn’t start until 4PM. So we played a while. I took a shot at the progressive royal, which was only at $1516 – someone had clearly hit it not long before we arrived (it resets at $1500 instead of $1000 like most machines). I never practiced the correct strategy for the 9/5 DDB game where the royal is $1500 (EV 98.98%), and I made a wrong play that might have cost me. (It all depends on which generation of RNG is in these older machines.) Anyway, I was dealt (AKJ)Jx. In a non-progressive game, it is correct to save the J’s and that’s what I did – and drew the suited QT. Ouch! (Later I verified that saving AKJ has an EV of 8.51, and the J’s has an EV of 7.23, when the RF is $1500, but with a non-progressive, the EV of suited AKJ is 6.66.) Later on we headed over to the Rio to meet with some more of DH’s poker friends at the new Hash House a Go Go. We got there a little early, so we played a little VP. I hit only one quad, but it was 4’s w/k. I had a HUGE BBBLT sandwich (lots of bacon), after which we returned to Sam’s Town. The progressive bank of machines has five 9/5 DDB machines on one side and five 9/6 DB machines on the other side. By this time, the progressive had worked up to $1575; it was $1630 by the time we left. Anyway, this time I played 9/6 DB, a slightly better paying game (EV 99.10%). There were two reasons for my choice. The local chain smokers brigade had all of the DDB machines in play. And when I played these machines earlier in the day, the air was blowing in my face, drying out my eyes. Nice with the air to address the smoking brigade, but not so easy on the eyes that were on their 9th day of VP overload. I had a decent session, hitting several quads, but couldn’t get closer than four to the royal. Quad count: 7.

    FRIDAY, MAR 7
    We returned to RR and I stuck with TB+ because I am convinced it gives me my best shot. But my bad luck continued. Quad count: 6

    SATURDAY, MAR 8
    In the morning, we met with a former co-worker who moved to Vegas about 8 years ago. We had a nice visit before heading to RR in the afternoon. The only excitement for the day was the fire alarm that went off several times. It was annoying, but it didn’t seem to bother any players. Quad count: 5 plus 1 SF.

    SUNDAY , MAR 9
    My DH is always looking to try something different. This time he wanted to return to Laughlin. We hadn’t been there in probably 10 years, so I was looking forward to getting back there. We only went to the Harrah’s property, since we wanted to make the most of our points. They had a bank of 9/5 DDB progressives where the RF was at $1121. There were progressive jackpots for all of the top hands, including SF and quad A,2,3,4. I hit the SF for $314. I also hit several quads, but, once again, B was the big winner. He was dealt a royal for $1135, his 4th royal in a week. I was happy for him, but oh, so envious! We didn’t stay long in Laughlin, preferring to get home before sunset. We had another home-cooked meal and watched the Oscars. Quad count: 5 + 1 SF.

    MONDAY, MAR 10
    We returned to Suncoast where B and DH played in the poker tournament and C & I played VP. B’s winning streak continued as he took 2nd place in the tournament. I had a decent day of VP, hitting a fair number of quads, including drawing 4 jacks after tossing a worthless hand. The very next hand I drew quad 10’s. I also hit a SF. Quad count for the day: 13.

    TUESDAY, MAR 11
    We started our last day in town at the Suncoast. Hit a couple of quads, but nothing outstanding. After the poker tournament (no wins), we headed over to RR. I played TB+ and hit only one quad. As a last resort I tried some 10/6 DDB. I actually hit several FHs and a couple of quads. But the day ended like all the others, with a loss. Quad count: 10.

    VP SUMMARY
    Royal Flush: 0
    Straight Flush: 5
    Aces w/k: 0
    Aces w/o/k: 5
    2,3,4 w/k: 7
    2,3,4 w/o/k : 18
    5-K: 77
    Dealt Quads: 13
    Quads from holding 1 card: 4
    Quads from holding 2 cards: 49
    Quads from holding 3 cards: 41
    Four to the Royal: 116

    I lost more on this trip than on any other. It was awful. I can only hope that I got all of my bad luck for the year out of my system on this trip.
     
  2. Flopitbaby

    Flopitbaby Low-Roller

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    Sorry to hear about your bad luck. I have vowed to not play at RR as my only trip there was the same as yours. Thanks for sharing.
     
  3. robert m.

    robert m. High-Roller

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    Sorry about the disappointing loss.

    I loved your VP summary at the end! Fascinating!

    You must have taken very good notes.

    Thanks for sharing!
     
  4. higgiel

    higgiel Low-Roller

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    flopitbaby: Thanks. I've had much better luck at RR in the past. And it's hard to beat their inventory of slant top VP machines with good (theoretical) payouts. But if you don't hit the big hands, it doesn't matter if the math is on your side.

    robert m: The note-taking is easy. I have an excel spreadsheet that lists the various hands and a column for each day/casino/game change. So I just put a tick mark for each quad/sf/rf/4 to the royal. It definitely helps when trying to compose the trip report.
     
  5. Dean Martin

    Dean Martin VIP Whale

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    You know, a lot of people will differ on my opinion but I've always said; a casino can have the best pay tables in town (like RR is close to) but if you don't hit there or feel unlucky there, it doesn't matter. Kind of like my gambling at the Bellagio....I've never won big there and never will because I'm done playing there.:poke::evillaugh

    Hopefully you got all the bad luck out and you're future holds some better gambling:beer:
     
  6. Packrat1

    Packrat1 Tourist

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    With all due respect, just the mere fact a certain game has a higher percentage is not the only thing to consider. How risk adverse you want to be is also very very important.

    For example at Red Rock they have a full pay Loose Dueces Wild 100.15% unfortunately this game has a whopping 70.7 variance. Full Pay Double Double Bonus at the Red Rock is an over 100% game but it's variance is 42.0. On the other hand Full Pay Jacks or Better 9/6 is less than 100% payback but is a 19.5 variance. 8/5 Bonus Poker is 20.9. Bonus Poker Deluxe although fun is a 32.0 variance. Most of these games the variance is higher because they pay the same for two pair as the pay for one pair which increases variance.

    This chart will explain variance better than I can.
    http://www.videopokerinfo.com/gamevariance.htm

    For me personally it all boils down to wanting to play longer while generating more comps by playing a near 100% game ie 9/6 Job or 8/5 bonus poker or FPDW 25.8 var.

    Others prefer to hope to catch the positive variance and ride the wave that's fine too but you must be willing to accept those long losing streaks too. Of course you can have those on any game. If you play say quarters and then go up to 50cents a thought would be to play a game at 50cents with less variance as your bankroll wouldn't be as great. On the other hand one could do a "hail Mary" bankroll at the higher level and just hope for the best understanding that you probably won't last long unless you hit something quickly.

    Just my opinion.
     
  7. higgiel

    higgiel Low-Roller

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    Dean Martin: I understand about a given casino just feeling unlucky. MGM Grand and Golden Nugget have always been unlucky for me. But I've consistently won at RR, until this trip. I've certainly had bad days there before, but not day after day after day. :wave:

    Packrat1: I understand that variance plays a big part in gambling results. I've just never been a big fan of the lower variance games. When I first started playing VP, I played JoB, but quickly got bored. Then I moved to DB. Then it was DDB. So far I have not graduated to VP crack (TDB), but I know lots of people who have. And since I don't like the lower variance games, I don't practice them and thus don't know the correct strategy. When in such a downward spiral, it might be wise to back off to one of the lower variance games, but I'd likely make enough strategy errors that the lower variance wouldn't matter. I know, I should practice them, but I just find them so boring. Once you've played - and hit - the higher variance games, it's hard to go back. Getting quad Aces w/kicker in TDB (4000 credits) and then getting those same Aces at JoB (125 credits) just makes you want to cry. Although I sometimes play DW when the other games aren't treating me well, I hate getting natural quads - 20 credits instead of the 250, 200, 800, 2000 or 4000 they would give in a different game. I guess what I'm saying is I'm willing to risk losing at my preferred games rather than risk seeing one of those big hands in the wrong game. :nono: :wave:
     
  8. Packrat1

    Packrat1 Tourist

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    higgel I understand your wanting to play only games you are familar with and enjoy.

    I would highly recommend you consider getting the set of strategy cards from Bob Dancer's site or LVA. They have different levels on each card so you can use them even on games you don't play a lot. You might even find that you are making mistakes on the games you are comfortable with, I know I do. I always bring multiple cards to the video poker machine and use them while I play. Also you can get the Winpoker for your computer and now they even have it for Iphones too.

    I know 9/6 JOB and the like are sometimes boring, but you can still win on them. I too wince when playing JOB and get 4 aces with a duece kicker. I guess a lot of it comes down to what you want to accomplish with playing video poker. For me it's getting multiple free room offers with lower risk.

    I am happy if I break even for a trip and spend 4 or 5 days in Vegas on comps. For others, getting a big score is much more exciting and I understand that. I just thought that you might want to look at other options.
     
  9. higgiel

    higgiel Low-Roller

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    Packrat1: I have Dancer's Video Poker for Winners, which lets you print strategy cards. I have some, but I just forget to bring them with me to the casino. I'm pretty confident with the TB+ and DDB strategies, since I play them regularly on VPW. I just hope I never again have the landslide sessions I had for those two weeks. :wave:
     
  10. Viva Las Vegas

    Viva Las Vegas Ramblin' Gamblin' Man

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    Is 100.17% DB too boring as well? Not a bad mix (not crack or smack, only jolt or red bull) for variance and bonus excitement, at least for us JOB players. :)

    I have Dancer cards for both of the above, and also FPDW which is among the highest paybacks, but to me is boring because you are mostly hunting for 2s.

    Most here do not like Circus Circus, but they have a 100.24% Aces and Eights game (2 pair = 2 coins) that you can play w/ JOB strategy (also has a sequential royal progressive, though your post indicates this slows you down). I fluctuate currencies and number of plays, and have been fortunate to have hit both RSFs playing $1 (I'd say my mix is about 60% quarter 1-5 lines, 40% dollar 1-5 lines).

    Too me, RSF and relaxation are the two reasons I play VP. JOB keeps me in the game longer. As a 1-2 year Vegas visitor, short term variance is hard to overcome. I guess I'm more of a grinder in the Packrat1 mode.

    Anyway, better luck next trip and hope you hit more premium quads and maybe even a RSF!
     
  11. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    Oh the VP Gods are fickle; I had a great trip in December where I came out ahead every day playing DDB and on our trip earlier this month I did not get even one quad, let alone a Royal. I've never had luck that bad on DDB. Better luck to you next time!
     
  12. higgiel

    higgiel Low-Roller

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    Viva Las Vegas: Thanks. I do sometimes play DB. If I'm just not getting the kickers at DDB, I'll play DB if TB+/WHA is not available. Many years ago, after practicing DB on the computer, I went to Greektown Casino in Detroit. I was shocked to learn that they didn't even offer DB. That's when someone told me that DDB was the most popular VP game, so I started practicing it. It eventually became my first choice game. Then while walking around at Greektown, I noticed a bank of machines with WHA. I was having zero luck with DDB that day, so I sat down to play WHA and promptly hit the Aces (for 1200 coins). I was hooked. So WHA/TB+ is my preferred game, with DDB and DB neck and neck for second place. I've never heard of the Aces & Eights game you play at Circus Circus. But any game with an EV above 100% is well worth playing. And sounds like you've done OK with it. :wave:

    breanna61: Thanks. The difference between a win and a loss is measured in nanoseconds. Oh yeah, in $$$$$s too. When in a slump like that, I try to change things by varying my rate of play. Sometimes it works. Sometimes nothing works. When I had a local skilled game parlor where I could play VP every day, I would just go home if nothing was happening. But when you're 2000 miles from home, that just isn't an option. Better luck to you on your next trip. :wave:
     
  13. Viva Las Vegas

    Viva Las Vegas Ramblin' Gamblin' Man

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    I've never played that game (only the three mentioned, though when I first stated playing I played on some poor Strip pay tables until I learned to stick with FP, or occasionally 9/5 for win or leave sessions while comped.

    I want to try the game next trip. Here are links with the location and pay tables for anyone interested.

    :beer:
     
  14. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Sorry you had such a bad trip higgiel. :(

    Good news is, it's close to that "once in a lifetime" level (well, unless you make these lengthy of a trip every few months or so).

    It sounds like you played close to 50k hands of DDB/TB+.

    In 50k hands of DDB the likelihood of...:

    No Royals or AWAKs: 1.49%
    12 or less "800+ credit wins": 3.88%

    Hopefully you'll be on the other end of the curve next time! :)
     
  15. Loonar

    Loonar Low-Roller

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    Come back to Windsor!

    Wow, higgiel , sorry to hear about the financial beating on this trip. The only thing I can suggest is to get your butt back to Caesars Windsor where the paytables kinda suck, but your luck is typically good. Also, no tax on those bigger hits plus the US/Cdn dollar is in your favor right now.

    So, when are you coming back?
     
  16. mgill1974

    mgill1974 Low-Roller

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    14 days in vegas? I would go nuts lol
     
  17. higgiel

    higgiel Low-Roller

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    tringlomane: Thanks. I like to think that I can't have another trip like that in a very long time. :wave:

    Loonar: It's ridiculous to have such better luck at Windsor where the paytables are poor than on the full pay machines in Vegas. But it just goes to show that it doesn't matter what you're getting paid on FH and FL - if you're not hitting royals and quads, you're not winning. I'll be back in Windsor in about a week and hope to find my first royal of the year then. :wave:

    mgill1974: Two weeks is a long time, but I don't spend all my time gambling like I did when I first started going there. I spend some time visiting with family and friends there. I even spent a day driving around to open houses, looking for a bargain I just couldn't resist. (I didn't find one.) Actually this trip seemed a bit long to me. It may be that I'm just getting older and more decrepit, but it could also just have to do with the fact that I couldn't seem to win. That takes the wind out of my sails pretty quickly. But by the time I return (probably Nov), the pain of the loss will be a faint memory and I will be hopeful once again. :wave:
     
  18. gotavegasjones

    gotavegasjones VIP Whale

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    Wow. that was just a little painful to read. I've had a few trips with similar results. We love to stay and play at Red Rock. Next trip you'll get back on the winning side.

    latr, GVJ
     
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