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Dice, Helicopters, and Bacchanalia LOVE 10/23-10/27

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by yoyoseven, Oct 30, 2012.

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  1. yoyoseven

    yoyoseven Low-Roller

    Feb 29, 2012
    Trips to Las Vegas:

    My Trip Report

    Dice, Helicopters, and Bacchanalia LOVE

    First a wee bit of background. I’m a 52-year old single male from Wisconsin. I’ve been visiting Las Vegas for about 25 years (first visit was in the late 80’s, when I was living in Vermont). For many years, I made the trip two or three times per year, but have scaled back to one trip per year for the last ten years or so. I have stayed and played and Sam’s Town for many years, but recently my casino host retired, and the mail offers from ST began to get leaner and leaner. So, for the first time in as long as I can remember, I decided to find accommodations elsewhere this trip and actually spend a couple of nights on the strip (and, GASP!, actually pay for two nights in a hotel!).

    My game of choice is craps, and I spend the bulk of my gambling time on the dice tables. I also play poker, both cash games and tournaments. In addition, I play a couple of carnival-type games (Pai-gow poker and three-card poker) to take a break from craps and rest my feet, but really, those are just diversions. Once in a while I’ll run a twenty through a slot machine, but that’s pretty rare. Once in a blue moon I’ll play a little video poker too, but I have not taken the time to practice and learn the right moves in each situation, so I don’t take it seriously.

    This trip was semi-solo in that a close friend of mine and his wife (okay, she’s now a close friend too) were making the trip on the same dates, but they stayed out in the boonies at the M resort while I stayed two nights on the strip and two nights downtown. We hooked up for a few activities a few times over the course of the trip, but generally I let them do their thing while I did mine. They didn’t get a car (I did), and since they staying were in the boonies – I think they expected me to be their personal cabbie, but I was not down with wasting my precious vacation time driving back and forth to the M. I’ll refer to them as D and C (yes, I know that sounds like an abortion technique, but honestly it’s their initials). They live in northern Wisconsin, while I’m in the south, near Madison.

    I’ll organize the report chronologically rather than break it down by travel, hotel, food, etc. The trip lasted five days (Tue – Sat), although much of the first and last days were travel time. My bankroll for the trip was $5000, not counting food and entertainment – I keep the bankroll separate from my other funds. Sorry, no pics – I’ve been out there so many times I don’t bother with a camera any more.

    I’ll post the report one day at a time, but I’ll try to get through it as quickly as I can. Sorry if I ramble and get off track on occasion…………….

    Day One: Tuesday, 10/23

    My Southwest Airlines flight was scheduled to leave Milwaukee at 1:25pm CDT (direct flights both ways, $295 RT, plus $20 for the early bird option). I drove to my brother’s place (between Madison and Milwaukee) where I left my truck. My brother drove me to the airport in Milwaukee and dropped me off with plenty of time to spare. Security was a breeze, and soon I was enjoying one of Milwaukee’s finest at the bar (well actually, very little beer is actually brewed in Milwaukee anymore, so I was really enjoying one of New Glarus’ finest!).

    I had taken advantage of SW’s early-bird check-in and had secured boarding number A35. Soon I was on the 737 in an aisle seat in row 7 and in the air, on time. The pilot informed us that in order to avoid some severe turbulence in Colorado, we would be heading further south, and approaching Nevada from Arizona, right past the Grand Canyon. Cool by me, except that it was going to add about half an hour to the flight. Settled in with a Jack on the rocks and fired up Full Metal Jacket on the Kindle Fire. By the time the movie ended, we were approaching the canyon. We flew right over Flagstaff, got a good look at the south rim, and were able to see the entire canyon. Very cool view from 20,000 feet or so, but I would get a much closer look later in the trip. Since all of the airlines pad their flight times these days, we landed at McCarran right on schedule at 3:15 pm PDT, even with the southerly detour.

    Bags were coming off the carousel a few minutes after the tram dropped me off at the main terminal, and mine was the fifth or six bag to drop down the chute. Hopped on an empty shuttle bus and headed for the rental car center after another 7 or 8 people boarded the bus. I had rented through Alamo (full size, 5 days, $192 after taxes and fees), and used their early check-in feature, so I bypassed the counter, went up the escalator, and picked a brand-new (300 miles on the odometer) Dodge Charger from the full size aisle. The car was okay, but I’m not a big Chrysler fan – all of their newer models have such small windows that I can barely see what’s going on around me, and I always have to crane my neck to peek under the top of the windshield to see traffic lights. It’s also tough to get a good look over the shoulder at the blind spot. Anyways, it would do just fine for a few days of short trips in and around Las Vegas.

    The inbound trip had gone swimmingly – everything was on schedule, and I was literally in the rental car on the road less than half an hour from the point the plane touched down. I only hoped that the gambling gods would be as generous as the travel gods had been so far!

    A quick trip up the strip, a right on Tropicana, a left on Koval, and a left on Flamingo, and I was at the first of my two home bases of the trip.

    My first two nights would be spent on the strip, at Bill’s Gambling Hall and Saloon (formerly known as the Barbary Coast). I was actually paying for these two nights – one of the few times I have paid for a Las Vegas area hotel room in the last 20 years or so. Now, Bill’s isn’t the most glamorous joint on the strip (not by a long shot). Trust me, I can certainly afford to pay for swanky surroundings, and I have taken advantage of them in the past when accompanied by lady friends, but generally that’s just not my style. When I go solo, I just need a clean room and a comfortable bed, and I’m just as happy as I would be in a suite at Wynn. When I’m alone, the room is just for the four S’s anyway. Bill’s fit the bill – no pun intended.

    Only had to wait for one couple ahead of me, and I was quickly checked in. When I made the ressies, I chose the “no strip view” class of room, hoping to get a room facing the Flamingo hotel, figuring that those rooms would be quiet. No need for the $20 trick. As it turned out, I was assigned a room on the third floor, facing Flamingo Road and the north side of Bally’s. Technically, that is a bit of an “upgrade” since the room had a partial strip view as I could see about three quarters of the Bellagio fountains, Cosmo, and a bit of City Centre. There was some noise from Flamingo road (trucks, horns, sirens), but not enough to be a bother. And I could hear the fountains, but oddly, not the accompanying music. I wouldn’t be crashing until the wee hours of the morning anyway, after things had settled down, so the noise wouldn’t really be an issue. And I always have earplugs in the toiletry bag as a backup.

    I was pleasantly surprised by the condition of the room. I would guess that the rooms have been rehabbed within the last five years or so. The carpet and bathroom tiles were clean, the mattress was in good shape, and the room was really quite spacious. The stained glass on the bathroom mirror and in the little shower window add a nice touch to the Victorian theme. The TV was a small flat screen, just fine for catching the news. Anyone with a lack of pretense should be quite happy in a basic room at Bill’s.

    I had read the press release a couple weeks ago about CET planning an overhaul at Bill’s, but really just the casino needs it. The casino is looking a bit shabby and worn. (Note to casino managers: new table felt is cheap, and really brightens the first impression most people have to your joint – new carpet would help too). I wouldn’t really be gambling much there anyway, since they offer the shitty strip-standard 3x, 4x, 5x odds on the craps tables.

    For those of you that don’t play craps and don’t care about craps strategy, you’ll probably want to skip the next few paragraphs as they outline the strategy I employ while playing the cubes………


    As a dedicated pass-line and come bettor, I look for casinos that offer $5 minimums and at least 10x odds because 1) I want to put as much of my bets on the odds and as little on the flat bets as possible and 2) I want to be able to press up the odds without needing to press the flat bet. My approach follows:

    I start with a $5 pass line bet. If the point is 6 or 8, I’ll add $25 in odds. If the point is 4, 5, 9, or 10, I’ll add $20 in odds. My next move is to place the six and eight (or one of them if the other has been established as the point) for $12 each, and make a $5 come bet.

    If the next roll is a six or an eight, then the $12 place bet covers the $25 odds I need for the come bet ($12 bet plus $14 payoff with $1 change makes the $25 odds). If the roll was a 4, 5, 9, or 10, then I’ll put $20 odds on it. And I make another $5 come bet.

    I continue this until I have two come bets and the pass line bet working with odds. Sometimes this means I’ll have three working bets, if both the six and eight get converted to come bets. Sometimes it means that I’ll have four working bets, if either the six or eight get converted to come bets, but not both. And sometimes it means I have five working bets if neither the six nor eight get converted to come bets (the pass line with odds, two come bets with odds, and six and eight covered with place bets).

    This is a little more aggressive than I used to play, because I never used to place the six and eight – I just continued to make come bets until I had the pass line and two come bets covered with odds, regardless of what numbers were covered. I like the newer, slightly more aggressive approach though as quite often the winnings from place bets on six and eight help to cover the odds on those numbers when they get converted to come bets. And, even if they don’t get converted to come bets, I don’t mind having place bets on the six and/or eight. If I hit a six or eight come bet, and it’s not off-and-on, I’ll place it again. However, I never make place bets on the 4, 5, 9 or 10.

    If the shooter gets hot, I’ll start pressing my odds after I have been paid on three odds bets (pass line or come bets with odds – if I hit some place bets on the six or eight along the way, they don’t count in my decision to press the odds, although I will press the place bets one unit at a time the second time they hit). Once I’ve reached the point where it’s time to begin pressing odds, I’ll press the odds to $50 on six and eight and to $40 on 4, 5, 9, 10. (When I say I’ll press my odds, I don’t mean that I’ll add to the odds on existing bets. I mean that as one bet hits, I’ll put the higher odds on the next bet – remember, I’m trying to keep three pass/come bets working with odds – when I hit a come bet that comes down or the point is made, I’ll make another pass/come bet, and put the higher odds on it when it goes up).

    Then I won’t press odds again until I have again hit three odds bets at the new, higher odds. Of course, if the max odds is 10x, I can’t press the odds again on the six and eight, as they are already at $50. If however the max odds are 20x, I’ll go up to $100 odds. It’s rare that I get to the point where I press the odds to $100 (the shooter has to really be on fire), but it does happen occasionally and I like having the option to do so. Therefore, in Las Vegas, I play craps mostly at Sam’s Town and Main Street Station, where they offer 20x odds.


    So, with check-in complete and bag unpacked, it was time to let the fun begin. I decided to head out to Sam’s Town and hit the dice tables. I quick trip east on Flamingo to the Boulder Highway, and I was soon in the familiar confines of Sam’s Town.

    For those of you who have never visited, Sam’s Town is essentially a local’s joint. However, they have a 650-room hotel, so they do get a fair amount of tourist activity as well. As with most local’s casinos, they offer better gambling conditions than those found on the strip (looser slots, better VP pay tables, 20x odds, etc). It’s not high-end, and you wouldn’t choose the place for eye candy (unless you’ve got a thing for blue-hairs), but it’s a great place to play craps. They get a lot of action on their tables, and most of the dealers are great – friendly and professional. They can keep the dice moving during hot rolls on crowded tables.

    I first heard about and visited Sam’s Town back in the late 80’s. I was on a solo trip (I think I stayed at the Riv that time), and I went golfing. I got paired up with a threesome of locals, and I asked them if they ever gambled. They said they did occasionally, so I asked them where they opted to play (I was fishing for inside information, as I was still a bit of a newbie at the time). They asked me what I wanted to play, and when I said craps, they told me to hit up Sam’s Town since, at the time, Sam’s Town offered 100x odds. That began a long relationship between myself and Boyd Gaming.

    I did well the first time I visited, so I went back a few more times on that trip, and began getting comp offers in the mail. After availing myself of free rooms and food comps for a few trips, and really giving them a lot of action at the tables, a host introduced herself to me, and I began using her to make my arrangements. Back in those days (early 90’s) Sam’s Town was very generous with comps. Even at the level I play (which I would define as medium – higher betting than average, but certainly not a high-roller), the comps got better and better, with stays in suites, limo service, and even full RFB for a while.

    However, as with all of the casinos in town, in the new millennium the offers began to become less attractive. Plus I slowed down on the number of trips I made per year. Then, in 2010, my long-time host retired, and I never established a firm relationship with a new host. These days, I still get mailers for tournaments (BJ, VP, Craps, slots) with 3-night stays, but the non-tournament offers have dropped down to stuff like “2 nights with $10 in food and $20 free play”. Meh – that’s a joke. With the Sam’s Town offers drying up, I finally decided to explore other options this trip.

    Anyway, I arrived at Sam’s Town, and made a bee-line to the craps table. Bought in for $300, said hello to the long-time craps dealers, and lost my buy-in in about 15 minutes. Pfffft. After that inauspicious beginning, I decided to slow down and play three-card poker for a while. Bought in for $100, and lost that in about 15 hands, hitting only a couple of minor bonuses. Pffffft. From there I wandered around a bit, checked the football lines in the sports book (Sam’s Town built a very nice sports book a few years ago), made my way back to the dice pit, and bought in for another $300. This time it lasted for about 40 minutes. Pfffft.

    Okay, so my decision to make the trek out to Sam’s Town was a bad one. Losing about 15% of the bankroll in the first hour and half or so isn’t good, but there was plenty of time to make up for it. It was now pushing 8:00pm (10:00 home time), and I hadn’t eaten anything substantial since breakfast, so it was time to find some food. With the limited dining options at Sam’s Town, I decided to head downtown to Main Street Stations’s Triple-7 Brewpub.

    Shot up Boulder Highway to Fremont Street and with a quick jog down Ogden, I was there in about 20 minutes. Secured the car with the valet, and enjoyed a Pale Ale, a California roll, and some fried Calamari. The food and service was outstanding as it always is at the 777.

    After quieting the stomach, it was time to play some more craps. I usually have good luck on the tables at MSS. As many of you know, both MSS and the California (both Boyd joints) cater to people from the great state of Hawaii. I really like playing craps with the Hawaiians – they are generally happy and polite people, and I’m a firm believer that positive energy is what makes the dice behave. The craps tables at MSS are usually pretty jammed with Hawaiians, and the only drawback to playing with them is that they seem to love the hardways and prop bets, which slows down the game when a shooter gets hot. This trip would be no exception – lots of Hawaiians, lots of hardway and prop bets, but also lots of positive energy and the good luck that it brings.

    So I bought in for $300 and ordered another Pale Ale from the lovely waitress. This session started out a bit choppy, with shooters hitting a couple of my numbers with each roll. I wasn’t losing, but I wasn’t winning either – just treading water. After eight or nine shooters and about 45 minutes, the dice came to me, and I had a semi-heater. I got a couple of my bets pressed up, and hit a couple of those. I rolled for about 15 minutes, and after I sevened-out, I had $618 in the rack. I decided to color up and take a $318 profit for the first positive session of the trip. Not a huge win, but a move in the right direction.

    I decided to play three-card poker for a while, but didn’t catch anything special in that session, buying in for $100, and eventually coloring up for $65, a $35 loss. No biggie.

    It was getting a bit late, pushing midnight (2:00am by my body clock), and I had a slight buzz from a few beers, so I decided to head back to Bill’s before the combination of fatigue and alcohol would make me an un-safe driver.

    Took the strip back to Bill’s (traffic was pretty light on a Tuesday night), and parked the car in the self-parking structure. I don’t know if Bill’s actually has a valet. Every time I pulled into the garage, there was a “Valet Full” sign up next to an empty chair. I figured that either their valet lot only had two spaces, or they just don’t bother with it (with the latter being the more likely). Not a problem though – the self-parking is easy, with a short walk to the elevators.

    Now safely back at home base, I could have a few more drinks and walk around if I so chose. I decided to play a little Pai-gow at Bill’s, and had another unremarkable session, losing the entire $100 buy-in, but enjoying a few Crowns on the rocks. So, even though they only offer 3x, 4x, 5x odds, I decided to play one last craps session for the night at Bill’s. Bought in for $300, caught a couple of decent rolls (couldn’t press the odds though), and colored up for a $185 win.

    By then it was about 3:30, and I was hungry again. Got a table at the Victorian Café, and three fried eggs with sausage, hash browns and sourdough toast for $4.95 hit the spot. Then it was time to crash. Since my flight from Milwaukee wasn’t an early morning departure, I was able to sleep in that morning, so I wasn’t dead on my feet. I was still pretty tired though, and had a good buzz on. Sleep would not be an issue this night.

    Day one results: -332

    Day two to follow…………
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  2. KellyLovesVegas

    KellyLovesVegas certified personal trainer/retired space nerd

    Feb 19, 2012
    Trips to Las Vegas:

    Sentence I'd never expect to read in a Trip Report. :wink2:

    Can't wait to read about Day 2! I enjoy your writing style and humor.
    Another NYE in Las Vegas!
  3. vegasqc

    vegasqc VIP Whale

    Nov 9, 2010
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    great TR love all the details cant wait for day#2
  4. PreciousMissy

    PreciousMissy Tourist

    Oct 24, 2012
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    This is a great trip report! Thanks for detailing the craps strategy! I want to learn how to play, but I doubt I'll play with that amount of money my first time out! :nworthy:
  5. yoyoseven

    yoyoseven Low-Roller

    Feb 29, 2012
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Day Two

    Day 2: Wed, 10/24

    The first full day of the trip was one for which nothing had been scheduled – a day to play it by ear, just the way I like it. Awoke at 5:30 am, because my stupid body clock announced that it is 7:30 CDT, and I’m already running an hour late. Managed to roll over and sleep till 8:00. Eh, four hours is enough in Vegas, right? Did the three S’s and gave D and C a call (I knew their body clocks would be pinging them too). They were just up, and drinking coffee, so they wouldn’t really be out and about for at least an hour. I wanted to check out the Cosmopolitan and try out their "lose $100, get $100 free play" deal, so I told D and C that’s where I would be and they should give me a call when they got moving.

    Since I had enjoyed a late-night breakfast at Bill’s I wasn’t hungry this morning, so I hopped in the car and made the short trip down the strip to Harmon Ave, where I dropped off the car at the south valet at Cosmo. Walked in and located their “Identity” club desk, confirmed that they were still offering the deal, and secured a shiny new black “Identity” card. I asked the boothling if the card would get me through TSA at the airport, and she looked at me like I was sporting a third eye. “Nevermind, honey”.

    I walked around the property a bit and found a place to buy a $5.00 cup of coffee. It’s a nice enough place, but a little too modern and sterile for my tastes. It definitely fits in with the whole City Centre scheme. The big chandelier was impressive, but not THAT impressive.

    I walked by the craps pit and was surprised to find a $5.00 game going on (with the standard 3x, 4x, 5x odds). I had some time to kill, so I bought in for $300. The other players were all young LA types who wanted nothing to do with a cargo shorts-wearin’ 50-something Midwesterner like me, so I just sipped my coffee, smoked a cigarette, and sat back and watched the general buffoonery that happens when kids go to Las Vegas with Daddy’s money. These guys and gals just had no clue how to play craps (for example, making a $25 pass line bet and backing it up with $5 odds – um, okay…..). Maybe the grown-ups that stay there know a little better, but this bunch was dumber than a box of rocks. I played for maybe half an hour, coloring up $245, for a $55 loss. No major harm, and watching the antics at the table was actually pretty entertaining. I didn’t know it at the time, but this would be the last losing craps session I would have this trip. To borrow a phrase that I learned while living in the Twin Cities, “Uf-da, Dat’s a good ting”!

    It was time to take my shot at the free play deal. While I’m really not much of a slot player, I figured what the hell, I’d run a hundo through a Megabucks machine for a shot at $16 million. If I hit a good jackpot I’d just abandon the free play. I found a likely looking machine (I think it was a double-diamond job), and it sucked up $100 like Linda Lovelace on crack. So, back to the booth I went.

    I found a bank of 25-cent machines and chose one that looked patriotic – it had red, white, and blue 7’s and lots of stars on it. Activated the free play and began the mind-numbing process of pushing the button and watching the wheels go 'round and ’round. Cashed out $45.25 and still had $50 in free play. I moved to some other random machine and repeated the process, this time cashing out for $47.50. So I had recovered $92.75 of my original buy-in. I figured that $7.25 for a shot at $16,000,000 wasn’t too bad a deal, even if it didn’t pan out.

    While I was wiling away time at the slot machines, D called and said that they were going to take the shuttle into town, get dropped off at the Fashion Show Mall so C could blow some cash, and they wanted to know if I would meet them for lunch at the Grand Lux inside Palazzo. While I’ve never eaten at a Grand Lux, I had read and heard only good things about them and if it’s like Cheesecake Factory, it can’t be too bad, so I agreed to meet them there at 11:45.

    I was pretty much done with Cosmo, so I retrieved the vehicle and made my way up the strip to Palazzo, dropped the car with the valet, and made my way through the shops into the casino. I had no desire to play craps there, so I settled in at a $10 three-card poker table. Bought in for $100 and played $10 on the ante and $10 on the bonus. After a lot of losses and a couple of straights, I was up $70 and decided to cash out rather than push my luck. It was about 11:00 when my cell phone gave me that quickie-vibration-hand-job in my hip pocket. It was D, and he asked where I was. Turns out the M shuttle made a stop at City Centre, and they had decided to shop in Aria instead of the FSM, and were hoping I was still at the Cosmo. Nope, sorry, you just missed me and you’ll have to grab a cab. They said okay, they would be there in a bit.

    I wandered over towards Grand Lux, and found a comfy place to sit outside the restaurant and finish off the Heineken I had ordered while playing Pai-gow. There was a slot tournament going on out on the floor in front of the restaurant, so I watched people work on giving themselves carpal-tunnel syndrome and listened to the tournament host try to whip up excitement on the loud speaker. Yawn.

    After a few minutes, D and C texted me, saying the cab line was really long at Aria, and they would be a bit late. Okay, no problem, I’m in no hurry. They showed up about 15 minutes later and explained that they had walked over to the Mandarin and found a much shorter cab line. I shook D’s hand and tried to shake C’s right breast, but she pushed my hand aside and gave me a hug instead. She had a Louis Vuitton bag with a box inside which she handed to D to guard while she hit the powder room. As she walked away, I asked D what she had purchased, and he responded “A clutch”. “A designer transmission part?”, I asked. “No, a small handbag”. Being the wise-ass that I am, I couldn’t resist. “A bag for her hand? What’s wrong with her hand?” “No, it’s a small purse”. When I asked how much it had cost, D sheepishly replied “$1600”. We listened to the crickets chirp for a few moments, and then I rolled my eyes. $1600 for a purse which can barely hold a pack of smokes, some keys, and a few condoms? C is definitely a “form before function” type of girl. But she can cook circles around Julia Child (even when Julia was alive), so I’ll let her off the hook without too much ribbing – I certainly don’t want to wear out my welcome in C’s kitchen!

    We made our way into the Grand Lux, and were seated immediately (I love mid-week in Vegas). We caught up with recent events over lunch. I enjoyed a seafood salad the size of the gulf of Mexico. D had a BLT and fries. I don’t recall what C had. When the waitress asked if we would like the leftovers boxed up, I looked at C and asked if she could carry them in her new clutch. It didn’t take too long to recover from the kick in the shin that I received in response. I picked up the $70 tab, figuring that D had taken a big enough financial blow for one day. It was C’s birthday, and she and D had made dinner reservations at Roy’s – a high-end restaurant on Flamingo. They had eaten at a Roy’s while in Pebble Beach and loved it, so they were excited to to try the Las Vegas version. They said I was perfectly welcome to join them that evening, but I declined, not wanting to be a third wheel on C’s birthday. I guess I could have gone to a video poker bar in Caesar’s and found a date, but that seemed like a lot of trouble.

    I had reserved seats for LOVE at Mirage for Thursday night and, since we were close by, we decided to walk over and pick them up at the box office. Afterwards, D asked if I wanted to go out to the M and play some craps (fishing for a ride). I held my ground and said no, I’d rather go play at MSS. So, we parted ways, me heading back across the street to retrieve the car at Palazzo, D and C to the Fashion Show Mall to catch the shuttle to M. I asked D if his MasterCard could take another shot, and he said no, but the AmEx card might be okay……..

    True to my word, I headed back downtown to MSS and bought into a crowded craps table for $300. No monster rolls to be had this session, but I still managed a $265 win. Then I played three-card poker for $100 buy-in and promptly lost it all. I decided to take a break for a while and wander Freemont St. I wanted to check out the new ‘D’ (the old Fitz), which I now call “the Ditz”. I liked the place and decided to play a little Pai-gow. Sat down at a table with three highly intoxicated young ladies from Texas – they were having a blast and were merciless cock-teases. Made a $65 profit in short order, and got out of there before the loud music ruined what’s left of my hearing.

    After leaving the Ditz, I debated walking down to ElCo, but instead opted to head back to MSS for another craps session. Bought in for $400 this time, and played for about three hours. Again, nothing spectacular happened this session, pressed up the odds a couple of times, but didn’t hit many pressed bets. Just played for a long time with the Happy Hawaiians, drank a few of MSS’s fine brews and managed to pull out a $321 win.

    It was pushing 7:00 by this time, and my stomach reminded me that I couldn’t live on beer alone (I beg to differ, but the stomach always wins). So I headed back to Bill’s to freshen up and prepare for dinner at that bastion of culinary contentment, that paragon of gastronomic gratification, that palace of epicurean ecstasy, Ellis Island!!! Seriously, I was in the mood for barbecue, and I’ve read that the ribs at EI are pretty good. I knew I was about to enter the opposite end of the fine dining spectrum from what D and C were set to experience, but I didn’t care – I wanted ribs, and I could walk to and from EI from Bill’s, drinking as much as I cared to imbibe with no worries.

    I arrived at Ellis Island Casino and Brewery and quickly received a number from the hostess at the barbecue restaurant (#59, and they were currently calling out #48). She said it would be about a 20-minute wait, so I went to the bar and got a tall, cold Hefe Weiss with a slice of lemon. Then I walked around the entire casino in about 30 seconds flat – the place really is small. I found a comfy over-stuffed leather chair in the sports book (no, really!), and watched a couple of innings of the World Series until my number was called.

    The waiter promptly took my order (another Hefe Weiss and a full rack dinner). He explained that if I joined the EI slot club, I could get $2 off the $17 charge for dinner, but he had an “extra voucher” and would give me the member rate anyway. Heh-heh, nice job buddy – I really wasn’t too worried about the discount, and was going to give him a good tip anyway (I always tip heavy when I’m solo, since the wait staff gets stuck with a single-top and the tab will be relatively small), but I appreciated the effort he put forth in setting himself up for a good tip. I was seated in a booth right next to the dirty plexiglass window that separates the restaurant from the sports book, so I got to continue watching the World Series while dining. A real bonus, and a super-classy touch!

    The dinner was served in short order, and included a full rack of ribs, corn on the cob, baked beans, cole slaw, and garlic bread. It was far too much to eat, and I didn’t care for the beans or corn anyway, so I set them aside and focused in the ribs, slaw and bread. The ribs really are very good – fall-off-the-bone tender with good smoked flavor. The sauce on the table added a nice tang. I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner. Paid the tab, with a 25% tip, and started the lonely walk back to the strip.

    I decided to burn off a few of the calories from dinner by strolling through Bally’s and Paris. Nothing new to report at Bally’s – same ‘ole same ‘ole. I walked down the corridor to Paris, and immediately got a tingly feeling on the back of my neck. You know that feeling that tells you now would be a good time to gamble, because you just can’t lose? I took heed, sat down at a $25 blackjack table and bought in for $200 (I think it was 6-to-5, but I didn’t care, because that tingly feeling told me I was going to win). While I was waiting for a new shoe, the cocktail waitress came by, and I ordered a double Crown on the rocks, handing her a red chip to make sure she came by regularly (because I was gonna win, and play for a long time). It wasn’t much longer before the new shoe was ready and I made my first bet. It turned out that the tingly feeling I got when I entered the casino was actually the blackjack Gods pissing down my shirt. I lost five hands in a row, and saw the writing on the wall. I scooped the $70 that remained on the felt just as the waitress arrived with my one and only free drink. I’ll count this as a $125 loss (waitress tips don’t count). I nursed the drink as I headed back through Bally’s with my tail between my legs, exited the north entrance, and jaywalked across Flamingo back to Bill’s.

    Once I got back to Bill’s I really didn’t feel like gambling any more that evening. I was pretty tired, and we had a busy day planned for Thursday, so I headed up to the room and hit the sack at about 12:30.

    Day two results: + $448.25
    Trip total so far: + 116.25

    Day three to follow......
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2012
  6. CAP

    CAP Tourist

    Feb 3, 2004
    Longview, TX
    Completely enjoying your TR. Ready for Day 3.
  7. yoyoseven

    yoyoseven Low-Roller

    Feb 29, 2012
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Day Three

    Day 3: Thu 10/25

    This was a big day, full of plans. Today, D and I were taking a helicopter excursion into the Grand Canyon and later in the evening, D, C, and I were planning to try the new Bacchanal buffet at Caesars for dinner, and taking in the late LOVE show at Mirage. Plus it was moving day for me.

    No time to dilly-dally this morning (no, that’s not something done in the shower). Up at 7:30, did the three S’s, packed up my stuff, threw the bag in the trunk of the car, and went down to the Victorian Room for a quick breakfast of eggs Benedict (not great – there was too much Hollandaise sauce, and it was too lemony, but it filled the gullet). I had about half an hour to kill before I needed to head to the airport for the helicopter trip so I bought into a Pai-gow game for $100. Won a few hands, lost a few hands, and didn’t hit any good bonuses, so I colored up with a $40 profit and departed Bill’s for the last time on this trip.

    When D had suggested the helicopter trip a few weeks earlier, I was a bit reticent - $400 seemed a bit much for a 1.5 hour excursion. I mean, that was 33% more than my round trip airfare! But I thought about it and realized that 1) $400 wasn’t really that much when you consider that I usually buy-in at the craps table for $300-400 per session, and 2) this would scratch two items off my bucket list – riding in a helicopter and seeing the Grand Canyon up close. We chose the “Silver Cloud Tour” offered by Maverick Tours, and booked it about three weeks in advance. C is not a good flyer, so her joining us for this trip wasn’t in the cards.

    The weather for the trip was nothing short of perfect. When we boarded the helicopter at 10:00 it was 75 degrees with very light winds and perfectly clear skies. Even our pilot, Robert, commented on how lucky we were to choose this day as usually it was much windier. The first step was, of course, to walk through the safety features of the aircraft and to don the FAA-mandated safety apparatus. Since we would be over water while in the canyon, we had to wear floatation devices which are strapped on around the waist. The bulk of the vest is folded into a package which, when worn properly, sits snugly right on your junk (and I do mean snugly). Not real comfortable – it didn’t take long for all of the guys to slide the package around to one side so the boys could breathe. Then we boarded the helicopter which can hold seven passengers plus the pilot. Luckily, we had only six passengers today, so there was a little extra room to work with. We had a diverse group, with one couple (from Canada), a fellow from Brazil, a California guy, and D and I. We all boarded, attached the 4-point seat belts, put on our headphones, Robert closed the doors, and we were off!

    The helicopters they use are pretty cool, and very comfortable. The glass wraps around the entire passenger enclosure with very little to obstruct your view. Each set of headphones has a voice-activated microphone, so you can talk to the other passengers and the pilot throughout the trip. When nobody is speaking, they play soothing music from an iPod through the headphone speakers (I had kind of expected the theme song from Top Gun – “Welcome to the Danger Zone”!). The pilots provide narration – citing facts about the different man-made and natural items of interest as you fly over them. Robert took us to the southeast, over Henderson and towards the Hoover Dam. I asked if we could do some barrel rolls and Robert chuckled that he would love to, but needed his job. Soon we flew over Boulder City and the Dam – got a good look at the Dam and the new suicide-platform bypass bridge from multiple angles. The only thing we couldn’t do was to fly directly over the top of the dam (since 9/11, freakin’ terrorists).

    Next we flew east across Lake Meade and out into the Mohave Desert toward the Hualapai Indian Reservation. All along the way, Robert explained how volcanic and plate-tectonic activity had formed the geographic features of the region, and how at one time it was all ocean bed. At one point we climbed high to get over what looked like a mountain but was actually an extinct volcano – when we crested the top, we could see down into the cinder cone – very cool.

    Before long we were approaching the canyon, and Robert explained that because the part of the canyon we were visiting (the North Rim) was situated on the Indian reservation, we were allowed to fly down into the canyon – which isn’t allowed at the south rim. The views were breathtaking – we flew over the edge and dropped down a few hundred feet as Robert explained the conflicting theories of how the canyon was formed. We probably spent about 15-20 minutes flying around inside the canyon, and we flew past the skywalk attraction built by the Hualapai tribe (a clear platform that extends about 75 feet over the edge of the canyon).

    Then it was back over the Mohave to the northwest. We made a pit stop to refuel at a small gravel landing area out in the middle of the desert, and then headed back towards Las Vegas. As we approached town, Robert took us up the Boulder Highway to Fremont Street, over the canopy, and then hung a left to cruise down the strip towards the airport. We made a smooth landing back at Maverick, shook hands with Robert, and the excursion was complete. I highly recommend Maverick Tours – they run a very professional operation. Robert was an awesome pilot. The trip was worth every penny. D got back on the Maverick shuttle to go back to the M, and I jumped in the car to head downtown and check in at the Cal.

    My last two nights would be comped at the California Hotel on Fremont. I used the Cal valet today, but for the rest of my stay, I just valeted at MSS – it’s easier, and it’s just a short walk between the Cal and MSS. When I arrived at about 12:30, there were 4 couples ahead of me waiting to check in. I had expected that I would need to leave my bag at the bell desk because it was pretty early to check in, and indeed the reservation desk clerks were telling those in front of me that their rooms wouldn’t be ready until 3:00. Before too long I was at the counter. I had reserved a single-king smoking room, and to my surprise my room was ready. Score!

    I’ve never stayed at the Cal before, so I don’t have any references to compare the room I received to others, but it was just fine. I was on the top floor (11th) in room 1133 in the east tower. This was at the very end of the hall tucked in the corner next to the stairway (cool, if there is a raging inferno, I’ll be the first out the door). There wasn’t much of a view – the Ogden Street tunnel and the Main Street Station valet parking lot. I did have a view of the pool, although I don’t believe anyone used it while I was there. Since the windows faced west, the rising sun wouldn’t bother me in the morning. The mattress was comfy, and the bathroom was large, with a double-vanity. The room was very clean – I would be quite comfortable here for two nights.

    I made my way back down to the casino level, found the B-connected club booth and activated the meager comps that came with the room - $10 freeplay each day, and two $10 meal comps. I was still pretty full from breakfast and wanted to save my appetite for the buffet that evening, so I decided not to eat anything until dinner. D and C starved themselves during the day as well. It was time to get my gamble on, so I took the elevated walkway over Main Street to MSS.

    As I came down the escalator into the MSS casino, I could see that there were two craps tables open – one was completely jammed with Hawaiians (I mean totally full, no room to elbow in at all), and the other was empty. I decided to start a game on the empty table until some space opened up on the other table. I bought in for $300, told the dealers that I normally don’t play with myself in public but would make an exception today, and began to roll my own destiny. It was choppy – I would hit a few numbers on one roll and then get three numbers set up followed by a seven-out on the next roll. I was down about $50 when another guy walked up to the other side of the table and started playing the don’t pass. I usually don’t mind if someone plays the darkside (as long as they don’t vocally call for the seven), but it’s a little disconcerting when there’s only two of you at the table. The guy didn’t want to throw the dice (most wrong way bettors don’t), so I was still stuck being the only shooter. Plus, he looked kind of grumpy – exuding negative energy. I took two more rolls, didn’t hit any points and then I spied someone leaving the other table. So, I snagged my remaining $70 or so in chips and went to the other table, leaving Mr. darkside to his own devices. Since I wasn’t quitting, I don’t consider that a complete session.

    I secured my position at the other table and since I was low on ammo, I bought in for another $100. The rolls continued to be choppy, and when the dice came to me, I didn’t do any better. I was pretty short-stacked when the Hawaiian guy to my left picked up the dice. He established a point of eight, and I put $25 behind it for odds, placed the six for $12 and made a come bet. His next roll was a nine, and I put $20 on the odds, and made another come bet. His next throw was a four, and I only had $10 left, so that went on the odds. So, I had $82 on the table and was down to the wood. Luckily for me (and everyone else at the table), the guy went on a heater. He was hitting 4’s, 5’s, 9’s and 10’s on just about every throw, and threw in a few sixes for good measure. He threw and threw, and I pressed up my odds. After about 20 minutes without throwing a 7, he finally hit the point (8), and the folks at the table cheered loudly. He established the next point (I think it was 9), and hit a few more of my numbers before the dreaded 7 finally appeared. At that point, I had $635 in the rack, so he had won me $553 (635 minus the 82 I started with) with just one pass. Not bad, not bad at all. I colored up and registered a $235 win for the session. Whew! Did I mention that I love playing craps with Hawaiians?

    At this point, it was pushing 4:00. D and C and I had agreed to meet at the Bacchanal buffet at Caesars at 5:30 (we hoped to beat the rush, and knew we would be hungry by then after fasting during the day), so I decided to freshen up a bit in the room and then head down the strip to Caesars. I dropped the car at the Forum Shops valet and walked to the main entrance. I still had about 45 minutes to kill, so I bought into a $25 Pai-gow game for $200, playing $25 on the hand and $5 on the bonus. As it usually goes with Pai-gow there were lots of pushes, and I lost very slowly. At about 5:25, I was down about $50, so I put the remainder in my pocket and walked over to the buffet to meet D and C.

    We had to wait only a few minutes and were quickly seated at a quiet table towards the back. If I recall, it was $44 per person, and none of us have a TR card to get the couple bucks off. We decided to take our time and enjoy the food since we had plenty of time before the 9:30 LOVE show. I probably made eight or nine trips with just a couple of items selected with each trip. I’m not going to review and rate everything I tried at the buffet (nor do I remember everything I tried) – just a few highlights. Others have already posted excellent detailed interweb reviews of the Bacchanal buffet (with photos), so there’s no need for me to do the same. Overall though, the buffet is excellent. I’m really not much of a buffet guy – I usually prefer a good sit-down meal – but I will say that with very few exceptions, the quality of the food and service at the Bacchanal buffet is outstanding, and worth the money. I wouldn’t hesitate to eat there again, and I hope they maintain that high level as time moves on.

    A few items that stood out for me:

    -- Sushi – very fresh and tasty. I haven’t been a sushi eater for long and I’m slowly expanding my sushi horizon. I had no qualms about expanding beyond California rolls here. The spicy tuna roll was outstanding.

    -- Brisket – smoked to perfection with just the right ratio of fat to lean.

    -- Truffled Scalloped Potatoes – just freakin’ tasty!

    -- Peeled shrimp – Big fat tails, not overcooked.

    While nothing that I tried was bad, there were a few items that were just so/so:

    -- Prime rib – Above average for a buffet, but not steakhouse-quality prime rib.

    -- Crab Legs – Had them heated in simmering water, but no better than crab legs I’ve had at other high-quality buffets.

    -- Fried Calamari – Served in neat little individual-size baskets, but again I’ve had better in many different places.

    I was feeling pretty full, but still hadn’t hit the dessert section. I was walking around it, trying to decide from the vast array of options, when one of the chefs asked me if I would like to try a Banana Soufflé, fresh out of the oven. Sure! As she handed me the plate, she warned me that the ramekin was very hot, and she wasn’t kidding. Oh man, that was some good shit right there! I went back after that and tried some custard thing (it wasn’t crème brulee, more like flan), and a chocolate-covered strawberry. All were very good.

    When we exited the buffet at about 7:00, the line was backed way up – I would guesstimate at least a 45-minute wait (on a Thursday night). The word is certainly out on this buffet!

    We still had time to kill before LOVE, so we moseyed back over to the casino and played $25 Pai-gow again. I still had about $150 from my earlier attempt, and D and C each bought in for $200. Since D and C haven’t played a lot of Pai-gow, I sat between them to help set their hands. To make a long story short, D and I got slaughtered, while C won just about every hand. The one other guy at the table was making $50 side bets on C’s hands, and cleaning up. He graciously paid the vig for C on each hand that she won for him. I was broke, D had a couple of greens left, and C decided to pull the plug, even though she was on a heater. I exhorted her to continue until she lost another hand, but she wouldn’t do it. She’s willing to blow $1600 on a purse, but worried about a couple of bills while gambling? Sigh, I’ll just never understand women. Chalk that up as another $200 Pai-gow loss for yoyoseven. I think C won about $150.

    We then made our way over to Mirage and, since we still had about half an hour to burn, decided to take another stab at Pai-gow (this time, at a $10 table – once bitten, twice shy). We made a poor choice of tables - the dealer was unbeatable, and a little smug about it too. C got out after three consecutive losses, not wanting to further jeopardize her winnings from Caesars. D decided to play a slot or two instead. C stayed and watched me lose the remainder of my buy-in. Down yet another hundo on Pai-gow. Why is it that I play these stupid carnival games? Oh yeah, because I’m a dumb-ass.

    While we were playing Pai-gow, the earlier LOVE show let out, and the line began forming for the late show. C and I got in line, and before long D showed up, having won $40 on a slot. The line moved quickly, and once inside the theater, I bought a $16 Sapphire and tonic, and we made our way to our seats. D and C had seen LOVE before, but it was a first for me. I grew up listening to the Beatles, and pretty much know all of the lyrics to all of their tunes backwards and forwards, so I was looking forward to the show. I won’t give a blow-by-blow recount – most of you have probably read many reviews in the past. I liked the show (and the sound system is awesome). I was amazed though that D and C really didn’t get many of the references to the history of the Beatles and the individuals in the band that are presented in the show. Hell, they didn’t even get the idea that all of the ushers were dressed as British meter-maids (i.e. Lovely Rita). Nor did they understand the significance of the lady being run over by the VW Beetle (that’s how Lennon’s mother died, when he was a young boy). I suspect that the majority of people that see the show are like D and C – kind of oblivious to the meaning behind many of the acts. Oh well, still an entertaining show. I would have liked a little more of the amazing acrobatic-type performances for which Cirque shows are known, but the choreography and music were outstanding.

    After the show, we stood around for a while to let the cab line die down a bit, and discussed what we may or may not do tomorrow. Before too long, the cab line was reasonable, and D and C joined it. We said our good nights, and I retrieved the car from the valet and worked my way back downtown. I took Dean Martin/Industrial on the way back and passed several of the fine gentlemen’s clubs along the way. I was very tempted, but those places are dangerous when you’re carrying a $5000 wad in your back pocket (and I’m not talking about being mugged!). I managed to keep the libido in check. Besides, there was money to be won at the craps tables in MSS!

    I settled in back at MSS, and bought in for $300. Played a long session (about 2.5 hours), with several shooters (including myself) having decent rolls, but no monsters appeared this time around. Still notched another $260 win. Man, I love those Hawaiians! I enjoyed quite a few Crowns on the rocks while playing, and certainly didn’t want to tempt fate at the Pai-gow tables again, so I weaved my way back to the room and crashed at about 2:30. What a great day.

    Day 3 results: + $235

    Trip results so far: + $351.25
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2012
  8. oldcrabtom

    oldcrabtom Low-Roller

    Sep 17, 2009
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Great read so far, keep 'em coming ! :beer:
  9. rob889

    rob889 Low-Roller

    Jul 30, 2011
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Awesome report so far. Love your craps style...almost identical to how I play.
  10. luvvp

    luvvp Tourist

    Sep 19, 2010
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    "form before function"

    My husband said this a couple of weeks ago, I've never heard this term before and I had him explain it to me. When I read this in your tr I started to lol and told him I'd read it on this website.
  11. yoyoseven

    yoyoseven Low-Roller

    Feb 29, 2012
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Day 4

    Day 4: Fri 10/26

    The last full day of my trip dawned with no firm plans. D wanted to try the Fremont Street zipline (I’ve already done it), so they planned to come downtown in the afternoon. I wasn’t planning on driving anywhere today, so I felt free to do as I pleased, and drink all the free cocktails I could handle (and I can handle a lot – especially when they’re free).

    I rolled out of bed at about 7:30, was out the door at 8:00, and walked over to the café at the Cal. It was mobbed, with a line extending out past the end of the snaking stanchions and velvet ropes. I wanted to play in the 10:00am $60 buy-in no-limit hold ‘em tournament at Binion’s, but I wasn’t going to wait in that line – hell, it would have been an hour before I tasted my first coffee. Screw it – I can eat later. It was off to MSS for an early craps session.

    I made my way over the elevated walkway and down the escalator to once again find two open tables – one pretty jammed up, the other with 4 or 5 players. I bought in for $300 at the less-crowded table. The cocktail waitress had arrived, and I ordered a black coffee and a Bloody Mary while waiting for the next come-out.

    My timing was immaculate this morning – I arrived just as the dice came out of the microwave. Each of the first three shooters was hitting numbers and making passes. The chips were rapidly moving in the right direction. After three shooters, the dice came to me, I looked down at the rack and estimated that I had over $600 in chips, waved off the dice, and colored up (I’m not greedy!). Turns out I had $684, for a quick and painless $384 win! Timing is everything. I think the only time I had less than my buy-in in the rack was after I had made all of my bets on the first shooter. She put me ahead, and I never looked back. I wish all sessions could go like this one. Little did I know that the whole day would be good for me – but I did know that the day was off to a good start.

    It was about 9:20 now. I figured that if I hurried, I could still get something decent to eat before the Binion’s tournament. I walked back through the Cal, and saw that the line at the café was still pretty long. I snuck up past the line to see if there was any room at the counter, and there were two open seats. I asked the hostess if I could grab a counter seat, and she let me right in. Nice. It was going to be tight, but I might still make the tourney.

    When the waitress came to ask if I wanted coffee, I told her yes, and I was ready to order. She took my order and brought me coffee and orange juice lickety-split. Ten minutes or so later, my over-easy eggs, bacon, hash browns and sour dough toast arrived. I asked the waitress to bring my check right away, and began to eat like I had been starving for two weeks. My elbows were flying, and I couldn’t get the strawberry jam on the toast quick enough. It took another ten minutes or so to polish off my fine breakfast, leave a tip, and pay my bill. ($12 and change – I used one of my $10 food comps, so breakfast was practically free).

    I had about 5 minutes to get to Binion’s, but didn’t really have to hurry – they always start a few minutes late, and you can still buy in even after the tournament has begun. I made my way out the door, crossed Ogden and 1st streets, and entered Binion’s via the back door. Got to the poker room a few minutes after 10:00, signed up and paid, was seated at table 2, seat 9 and received my $5000 in tournament chips before the first hand was dealt. The turnout was light – only three tables (I think there were 24 players). The waitress came around, and I decided on another Bloody Mary.

    I planned to play tight early, aggressively in the middle, and then just see how the later stages of the tournament played out (if I got that far). Play started, and I got rags after rags after rags. I stole a few blinds with position bets, but never caught any hands that I could do real damage with. Mostly just a lot of pre-flop folding going on at table 2, seat 9. I kid you not – the only hands I won were bluffs. After an hour or so, I switched from Bloody Marys to Crown rocks (it was after noon at home, so what the hell). All of the players at the table were friendly, with a couple of real cut-ups in the mix, so I was still having fun even though I wouldn’t wish my cards on a mortal enemy.

    The only time I added a decent amount to my stack was a bluff when I was holding deuce-four suited. It was folded around to me, and I made a small pre-flop bet from middle position - only the big blind called. Flop came all middle rags, rainbow. I made another small post-flop bet, and the big blind just called. I knew he was weak, probably with Q-10 or something of along those lines. The turn was another nothing card. I made a pot size bet, hoping to take it down right there, but ready to three-bet it if he pushed back. I’m pretty sure he suspected that I was bluffing, but I was also pretty sure he had squadoosh. He thought for about 30 seconds, and pushed his hand into the muck (maybe he was holding an ace). That hand added about 1000 to my stack, but only prolonged the inevitable.

    The blinds were starting to get bigger, and I just couldn’t catch any cards (honestly, I don’t think I caught even one pocket pair). The blinds slowly ate away at my stack. I lasted about two hours, until the blinds were 500/1000. I had A-9 off-suit, and pushed in my last $3500 or so from the big blind. The player in seat 3 called with K-Q, and caught a queen on the flop. No aces came on the turn or river, and I was out, in about the middle of the pack. Considering the cards I was dealt, I didn’t feel bad – I didn’t make any mistakes, and traded two hours of leisurely entertainment for a minor $60 loss. Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug.

    I made my way back to MSS for another round of dice play. Bought in for $300. Nothing remarkable happened during this session, but I played for about an hour, the dice were friendly, and I notched another win, for $288. The craps tables at Main Street Station have been my personal ATM this trip – I wish all of my trips would go this way. If I’d had a crystal ball after that last loss at Cosmo on Wednesday, I could have retired after this trip!

    After that session, for some idiotic reason, I decided to take another stab at Pai-gow. I bought in for $100, and had only played a few hands when C texted me that she and D were on Fremont. I told them where I was, and they made their way over to MSS. I colored up with a $25 loss, and since they had never stepped foot in MSS, we took a few minutes to walk around the joint. C loved the décor, especially the pressed-tin ceilings.

    We made our way down Fremont so D could try the zipline. As I mentioned before, I had already been on the zipline on a previous trip, and I had been drinking pretty steadily all day and already had a pretty good glow on, so I declined D’s offer to pay my way for another trip down the line (I really was pretty buzzed, and probably would have made the trip upside down). C doesn’t like heights, so D was on his own. There weren’t very many people in line, and during the afternoon the zipline costs only $15. D paid his money, signed the waiver, and got in line. C and I walked about ¾ of the way down the line to watch, and before long D was up the scaffold, and let loose. It’s all over in about 20 seconds. C and I met D at the far end, and we decided to take the exterior escalator up to the second floor of the Ditz so D and C could check it out.

    The conversion of the Fitz to the ‘D’ hasn’t had as much of an impact on the second floor as it has on the first. Looked pretty much the way it did before. We walked past the bar into the maze of slots, and D decided to throw a $20 into some nickel machine. C and I watched the lights flash for a few minutes, and then I heard the distinctive sound of thundering hooves off in the distance. I looked around the corner of that bank of slots and lo and behold, there it was, Sigma Derby!

    I got C to come with me to check it out, and there wasn’t anyone playing. I found a change person, got a roll of quarters, and took a seat. C stood by and watched. A couple of races later another guy joined the fun, and then C bought in as well. The cocktail waitress came around, and I ordered a Crown rocks. (Free drinks while playing a 25-cent carnival game? I was starting to warm up to this place!). After C joined in and the three of us were hooting and hollering, it wasn’t long before the game started to fill up, and everyone was having a blast. I was mostly betting on longshots for the helluvit, but bet and hit a few favorites as well. What a riot – made me feel like a kid again!

    After our quarters all ran out, we made our way downstairs, and D and I decided to play some craps. The tables were hoppin’, but we managed to find two spots on the end of one of the tables. A couple of shooters had poor rolls, but when D picked up the dice, he went on a mini-heater, and I followed up his roll with a decent roll myself. We both decided to color up, and I had yet another craps win, for $342. D won about 2 hundo – he’s a bit less aggressive than I. This day was becoming profitable for me.

    I was starting to feel the effects of the booze, and figured I had better eat something. D and C had a late breakfast, and they weren’t hungry, so I grabbed a chili dog at the American Coney Dog at the Ditz. We wandered around Fremont for a while, and I suggested that we walk down to the El Cortez, but C didn’t want to (a little too low-brow for her I guess). C wanted to head down to the strip (to shop, of course, probably for overpriced shoes), but I was in no shape to drive, so we parted ways at about 4:30. This would be our last hookup for the trip, as we were all heading home tomorrow.

    I headed back to the room for a few minutes to freshen up, and called down to make a reservation for 8:30 at the Redwood Bar and Grill. I wanted to try their $25 three-course Porterhouse special. Hmmm, what to do now…….I know - I’ll go play craps at MSS!

    I bought in for $400, and settled in for a long session. For about an hour or so it was choppy, and I was slowly losing, although keeping up a steady intake of Crown Royal. I was down to about $150, when an Asian fellow (not Hawaiian - Japanese, I think) to the right of the stick picked up the dice. He went on a tear, hitting number after number, and making passes like the lone rooster in a henhouse. He rolled a few sevens on come outs, but held the dice for close to an hour. Now, because of all the prop bet and hard-way action, the game progressed a bit slowly, but this was the roll I had been looking for all week. I had odds up to $100 on two numbers and $50 on another when he finally sevened-out, but it was a monster roll, and I was way ahead. I stuck around for one more shooter, who lost me about $100, but when I colored up, I had $1327 in the rack for a profit of $927! Booya! There was no longer a threat to my bankroll on this trip – I was going home a winner even if everything I touched turned to shit from this point forward.

    I was feeling no pain at this point (both from the booze and the endorphins my brain released from the hot roll). I still had better than an hour to kill before my dinner reservation, so, like the fool that I am, I bought in for $100 at a Pai-gow table. There were two Hawaiian ladies at the table, and the one on third base was pretty lit up (she was drinking white wine). She regaled us with the story about how her whole family was there to celebrate her mother’s 93’d birthday and how much she loved them all. Then, a few minutes later, she regaled us with the story about how her whole family was there to celebrate her mother’s 93’d birthday and how much she loved them all. I sensed a pattern here – she was REALLY buzzed! The rest of us at the table (the other Hawaiian lady, the dealer, and myself) just laughed with her and agreed how wonderful it was that her mother was still able to visit Las Vegas at her advanced age.

    After a while, I asked the pit critter for an ashtray, and drunk lady started in on me about how I should quit smoking, and how bad it was for me. I agreed with her that it was a dumb habit, but I’m a big boy and can choose to slowly commit suicide if I so choose. Another few minutes passed and she again told me I should quit smoking, that it is really bad for me (here we go!). Now don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t being obnoxious or smug about it, and I think she was sincere, but I know already! I once again agreed with her that I should quit, but it wasn’t going to happen today. Of course, a few minutes later, she started right back in again. This time I looked her in the eye, smiled at her, and said “You’re right, I should quit smoking…..and you should quit drinking.” She gave me a cross-eyed smile back, and that was the end of that.

    I slowly lost my entire $100 buy-in, and it was about time for dinner, so I headed back over to the Cal. Checked in with the lovely hostess and was promptly seated at a booth. The waiter dropped off a menu and took my drink order (Maker’s Mark Manhattan, straight up – why quit now?) I looked over the menu, and debated going for surf and turf, but stuck with the plan, and ordered the Porterhouse special. The first course option was soup or salad, and I elected to try the New England clam chowder. The chowder was OK, but having lived in Vermont for eight years, I’m pretty snobby about clam chowder. It was WAY down on my chowder scale. Next up was the steak and baked potato with sour cream and chives. I think the steak was 12 or 16 ounces – it was a good sized Porterhouse, about ¾” thick, and grilled perfectly medium-rare. The Redwood isn’t going to threaten any of the high-end steak joints in town, but it was a fine piece of meat, and I had no complaints. The third course – dessert – was a warm apple dumpling sprinkled with cinnamon and drizzled with caramel sauce with vanilla ice cream on the side. Very nice – really good with a cup of black coffee. After applying the other $10 food comp I had in my wallet, I think the bill was around $23. I left $35 and squeezed my full stomach out of the booth.

    It was pushing 10:00, so I decided to go wander under the canopy, burn off a few calories, and people watch for a while. It was a warm night, and Fremont Street was hopping. There were already quite a few people dressed up for Halloween (although I think a few of them just dress that way anyways), and a lot of hotties enjoying the free concert (some band covering 80’s music). Plus, in my condition, I was seeing two hotties each time I looked at one – bonus! I’m glad to see the resurgence of downtown, it’s really picking up, and some of the new places are becoming, dare I say, “hip and trendy”. I really like downtown – it’s just more of a party atmosphere everywhere you go, and the people who hang out down there aren’t at all pretentious. It’s way better than it was in the early nineties when there were crack heads, ho’s, and panhandlers on every corner – you really don’t see much of that at all anymore, at least on Fremont Street.

    I walked back into the Ditz and there was a party going on in there! The joint was jumpin! I played some more craps there, buying in for $300. I think I enjoyed just one more Crown rocks, and then I started guzzling water because I knew tomorrow morning was going to be painful. There were go-go girls on pedestals right in the pits, and I had one right behind me at the craps table – literally a foot or two behind me. I was severely tempted to slide a dollar bill in her G-string, but I refrained, figuring I would probably get tossed. The music was really loud, and I had to yell so the dealers could hear my bets. I played for about an hour with mixed results, and just couldn’t get over the hump. I finally colored up with a small $57 win. But hey – a win is a win!

    I was pretty drunk – just short of being shit-faced, so I wobbled my way (okay maybe there was a bit of staggering involved) back to the Cal and made the long walk down the hall to my corner room at about 1:00. I guzzled more water, took a couple of Advil, turned on the TV, crawled into bed, and promptly fell asleep (I dunno, maybe I passed out).

    Another great day had reached its end. I woke up at about 3:30, turned off the TV, drained the main vein, took a couple more Advil, drank some more water and went back to bed for good.

    Day 4 results: + $1803 (Yeah, baby!)

    Trip results so far: + $2154.25
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  12. dfalk

    dfalk VIP Whale

    Mar 7, 2011
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Great TR!
    I love it when that happens!
  13. Film-Noir

    Film-Noir High-Roller

    Apr 26, 2011
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Go Go Yo

    Nice TR, keep em comming. :beer:

    Just hope Housekeeping, Doesn't do the 8:00 am noisy Vac routine, outside your door.
    (Where there more than Obviosuly trying to wake you up, to service your room) eep
  14. yoyoseven

    yoyoseven Low-Roller

    Feb 29, 2012
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Day 5 - Final Day

    Day 5: Saturday, 10/27

    Alas, the last day of the trip had arrived. I awoke at about 8:30, shook the cobwebs out of my head (ouch!), and got moving quickly. Considering how much I had imbibed the day before, I wasn’t feeling all that bad – the extra water and Advil had helped. My head was pounding a bit, but a hot shower helped a lot. My flight home was scheduled to depart at 1:55pm, so I needed to be at the car rental facility by about noon. I quickly packed up my stuff, did the TV checkout routine ($0 balance, thank you Boyd Gaming).

    The first order of business was to get a quick breakfast, and I planned to eat this morning at my favorite Blueberry Hill location, on East Flamingo. I took Fremont to Maryland Parkway, took a left on Flamingo, and a few blocks later I spotted it on the corner of Flamingo and Algonquin. The parking lot was packed, and as I pulled in, I could see a sizeable line of people waiting to be seated. Uh-oh, I wanted to get in one more craps session before I left, and I didn’t have a lot of time to spare. I saw a couple exit the restaurant, and I slowly followed them in the parking lot until they got in their car. They looked over their shoulders a couple of times wondering why I was stalking them, but I didn’t care. I snagged their spot after they pulled out, walked to the entrance, and bought a Review-Journal out of the box in front. When I walked in, I could see a few empty spots at the counter, and when the host saw me craning my neck to see the counter, he waved me right in. There are benefits to solo travel sometimes. The waitress was on me like cold on ice, and I quickly looked over the extensive menu, and chose the Farmer’s Breakfast – 2 eggs (scrambled today), bacon, and pancakes, with coffee and OJ. Just a few minutes later, she delivered the bacon and eggs (they have really good, thick-cut bacon) and freshened my coffee, telling me she was waiting for the cakes to come up. No problem. Just as I was scooping up the last of the eggs, she delivered a stack of steaming hot buttermilk pancakes with a mound of butter and a cruet of maple syrup – perfect timing. Their pancakes are awesome – light and fluffy. I finished off about ¾ of the cakes before I was stuffed to the gills. I was sitting right next to the cashier’s station, so I passed her the check and a crisp twenty, left the change for the waitress, and I was on my way.

    I decided to hit Sunset Station for a last shot at the craps tables. I continued east on Flamingo, headed south on I-95, exited on Sunset, and pulled into the valet at about 10:20. I had about an hour and 20 minutes before I had to skedaddle. Since the last time I had been there, they had moved the craps tables to the other side of the Gaudy Bar, right over by the cashier’s cage. I bought in for $300. It appeared that the current shooter was on a bit of a heater – most people had good stacks in the rack, and they were cheering him on. I asked him if he minded if I got in and he said sure, no problem. Placed the six and eight for $12 each, and added a $5 come bet. I got three numbers up with odds, plus my $12 eight was still working. The guy continued on for another 15 minutes or so and hit several numbers for me, putting me ahead right out of the gate. The next shooter hit just one pass for me, so I lost a bit on his roll, and then the dice came to me. I proceeded to toss a pretty good roll, hitting a few come bets and making a pass, but sevened-out just after I pressed up the odds on three bets, without hitting any of them. That reduced my winnings a bit, but I did a quick count and saw that I was $75 ahead. I looked at the cell phone, and it was 11:15, so I colored up with one last win for the trip.

    I walked out of the casino with a smile on my face, marveling at how lucky I had been on the dice tables this trip. Being up $2229.25 for the trip isn’t a record for me, but it’s certainly in the top five. If I hadn’t played Pai-gow and 3-card poker at all on this trip, I would have won another $500 or so (there’s a lesson in there somewhere, I think).

    The valet delivered the car right at 11:30, so I had plenty of time, and drove leisurely down Sunset, hung a left on Bermuda to the 215 frontage road, hung a left on Gillespie, and I was back at the rental car center a little before noon. Ten minutes later I was on the way to the airport. I made the long trek to the Southwest counters, punched my reservation number into a self-service kiosk, and printed out my boarding pass with number A27. I really like Southwest’s set up at McCarran – quick and efficient. I stepped outside to have a last smoke and prepare myself for the TSA, removing my belt, emptying my pockets (except for the bankroll), and putting everything in my briefcase bag.

    I made my way upstairs and joined the other cattle working our way towards the slaughterhouse, err, I mean TSA checkpoint. It was only about 15 minutes until I made it to the checkpoint, showed the nice lady my ID and boarding pass, and got in line to go through the TSA peep show device. As I was waiting for the people in front of me to clear a little space on the tray table, a lady marched right up from behind me, and without a word stepped in front of me, grabbed a couple of trays and shoved the other people’s trays forward. She’s really lucky I was in a good mood. I gave her the benefit of the doubt, figuring that she was pressed for time to make her flight. She then proceeded to prepare herself to go through security, removing a mountain of bling, hairpins, glasses, etc, and throwing it into a third tray (I’m not sure, but I think she may have reached up and removed an IUD as well). Meanwhile, I’m standing there, fully prepared, with my shoes in one hand and by briefcase in the other. Okay, maybe she’s pressed for time AND a bit on the dim side. Last, but not least, she picked up her water bottle, glanced around, walked over to the wall, and dumped the remaining water onto the carpet! I have no idea why she would do that, unless she wanted to keep the bottle to fill it from a water fountain on the other side or something – REALLY? OK, that was the clincher, she really was a self-centered bitch. Two of the TSA agents had seen this whole fiasco take place, and one of them said loudly “M’aam, there is a trash bin right over there!” She replied, “Yeah, I was looking for one.” “Chirp, chirp, chirp”, went the crickets. She went through and as I stepped up, the other TSA agent said to me “I thought I had seen everything.” Of course, the ignorant wench was standing at the other end of the x-ray machine re-assembling herself and blocking the way for everyone else. So I walked up and gave her three trays a good shove down the line. She turned and shot me a dirty look, but I think she could see in my eyes that fucking with me right then would be a bad idea. She just turned and walked down to the end of the line. Some people’s kids!

    I put my shoes and belt on, and found gate C-27 right around the corner – no need to take the tram. I found an empty electrical outlet in the gate area, and re-charged my phone for about 20 minutes before Southwest began the boarding process. I snapped up an aisle seat in row 4 and settled in with the Kindle and Ipod for the 3.5-hour flight back to Milwaukee. Two older ladies took the middle and window seats before we departed, and both were very nice, with just a little chit-chat on the way. The flight was smooth, and I managed to doze a bit during the flight. We arrived back in Milwaukee about 15 minutes ahead of schedule, and my brother and sister-in-law pulled up just as I was stepping outside after picking up my bag off the carousel. I hadn’t eaten since breakfast, and my brother and SIL hadn’t eaten either, so we stopped at a favorite Mexican restaurant near their home for dinner. They picked my brain about the trip over chicken enchiladas with rice and beans, I picked up the tab, and they drove me to their place to pick up my truck. I had to run into their house and get some love from the sweetest little female pit bull in the world, and then it was a short 40 minute trip west on I-94 to my home near Madison. The trip had come to an end.

    Day 5 results: + $75

    Total Trip Results: + $2229.25

    I really had a great trip this time around. I enjoyed the company of my dear friends D and C, but wasn’t smothered by their plans. The weather was perfect, the travel went smoothly, I had a great adventure in a helicopter, finally saw a Cirque show, and won a nice stack of Benjamins to fortify my bankroll. The craps tables at Main Street Station were like an ATM for me, but from experience I know that some day they will turn on me and become my own personal abattoir – that’s just how the dice roll.

    Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed the report. Sorry it got so long, but it’s a pleasure recounting the details of trips when they go as well as this one had.

  15. BJK5692

    BJK5692 Newbie

    Dec 15, 2011
    Cincinnati, OH
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Very nice report, YoYo! I'm an avid craps player, too, but must admit that my stategy differs somewhat from yours. However, I do not play much downtown, and thanks to your report - that will change in 47 days! I am really looking forward to hitting the tables at MSS to try some of that Hawaiian luck you mentioned! :nworthy:

    In any case, congrats on the increased bankroll, as well as seeing and doing some of the non-gambling activities. When's the next trip back?
  16. yoyoseven

    yoyoseven Low-Roller

    Feb 29, 2012
    Trips to Las Vegas:

    Probably not until next fall, unless someone twists my arm. I'll have to make do with a few trips to a local Indian casino which offers 10x odds until then.
  17. angilynny

    angilynny Low-Roller

    Mar 7, 2012
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Love love love your trip report. I also love craps and you have inspired me to actually play in a few weeks. The laying odds thing always gets me. Glad you had a winning trip!
  18. amjacob

    amjacob Tourist

    Mar 11, 2010
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Thanks for the detailed trip report. As a craps player myself, I might try your strategy and see how things go when I go to LV in December. I hope to win as much as you did!
  19. yoyoseven

    yoyoseven Low-Roller

    Feb 29, 2012
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    You've slightly mis-worded it. "Laying odds" means you are making an odds bet on a don't pass or don't come bet. On a pass or come bet, the correct term is "taking odds". But I knew what you meant anyway.

    Have fun - hope you're as lucky as I was last week.
  20. theotherone

    theotherone Low-Roller

    Aug 31, 2011
    Near Nashville, TN
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Fantastic report!

    One of my favorite parts was when you said 'this was my last losing craps session of the trip.'

    My wife and I agreed after last years trip we would stay and play downtown next trip. I look forward to the trying out some of the stops you made.

    Glad you reported this trip. Thanks!
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