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Jaidee1's adventures from the old days (circa mid 70s)

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by jaidee1, Apr 14, 2015.

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  1. jaidee1

    jaidee1 Tourist

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    My Trip Report

    As stated in my "intro" to the board, I'm going to post some old history that I lived through in the classic old Las Vegas

    Some Old Memories

    I had been to Las Vegas once with my parents in the 60s. I was probably around eight when my parents took three generations across the desert from SF to LV. We were riding in a an old Ford Country Squire wagon with a portable AC unit which was plugged into the front cigarette lighter. All I can recall is seeing an old Polaroid equivalent of my family and me standing on Fremont Street with Vegas Vic in the background...

    Fast forward 10 years later and I was working full time as a young man (even though I was going to college) and some friends and I decide to take a late night flight to Las Vegas on an old airline called PSA. It was very cool to book a flight over the phone (actually a reservation), drive down to SF Airport and literally walk up to the gate and pay for our airline tickets in cash. I recall that I had paid around $70 for a flight that left at 9:00PM and I would fly back at 7:00AM the next morning and go straight to work.

    Since none of us were of age, we decided to dress up and wear ties and sport coats to appear older. What a mistake that was as it was over 105 degrees, even at 10:30PM when we landed. Funny thing I recall is that we had no luggage, dressed up like adults and we walked down the rolling stairs off of the plane. Back then, you could see the Tropicana sign from the tarmac. The four of us said, "Hey, we can just walk there...". Turns out, it was a neon advertising sign that looked a lot closer to us than it really was. The Tropicana would be probably be a five mile walk from the airport and we were dressed in the equivalent of suit and tie...what a bunch of rookies we were...

    We finally caught a cab and the first thing the driver said was "you want to go to the Palomino Club in North Las Vegas? No, take us to the heart of the strip, back then, it was the Dunes, Marina, Tropicana and if I recall, the Hacienda, a place where a funny guy named Red Foxx always headlined. We made it to Las Vegas and most of us had less than $200 in our pockets. A lot of money back then and even then, I had been reading Edward Thorpe's book on beating blackjack by counting cards. At a later time in my life, Ken Uston wrote a book on how to be a big player which would later influence how I would interact at the casino (another chapter)

    In true wonderment, it was great to see my first set of big casinos. I had this idea to walk the strip and play at every casino. I was literally at the south end of the strip, There was no Luxor nor Mandalay Bay. The Tropicana was the last casino on one side and the Hacienda was the other entrance point to the Las Vegas strip. That trip I want to several memorable casinos. Caesars was always Caesars even though it was only a fraction of it's current size today. They had some of the gorgeous bosomy cocktail waitresses around. The Pit Bosses looked like mob guys but they were dressed in dark suits. What an operation. I recall the domed casino space where all the big action took place. Back then I would break 20 bucks and get all silver coins. Minimums were a buck and my god, Caesars was two dollars a hand. I learned how to garage and break my bankroll into 10 units so that I would not lose too much at any casino or at any session. Two losing sessions meant take a break. Three in a row meant quit for the day. That was my lesson from the masters of counting cards. Do not lose too much or don't lose everything at once. Break your stake into realistic units.

    My most exotic memory was going to see the Aladdin casino, the predecessor to the current Planet Hollywood. The cocktail waitresses were dressed in the silky see through garb that Barbara Eden wore in "I Dream Of Jeannie".... ahh the old memories. This was a fantastic scene for someone who had never seen what hedonism was. I knew I had to come back here and I have lived that dream. I couldn't live here but I certainly could come here when I wanted to live that hedonistic lifestyle...

    This is my first real post and I will continue to write. My question is, do I continue to write extended stories in this thread or do I start a new thread? Not sure of the proper etiquette on this board but I will do whatever is preferable. I have tons of old stories and can relate those experiences here...

    Thanks for letting me have a platform to share...

    My quick set of Q & A from the 70's...

    What was my favorite restaurant back in the 70's?- Golden Steer (still around today). Tuxedo'd waiters and you should be dressed up. There's Rat Pack booth where Sammy, Frank and Joey. I believe there is still a John Wayne booth. We sat in the Rat Pack booth several times. Yes the Rat Pack would meet up here many nights after their shows. Never saw them there but it was cool to sit there in their booth.

    What did I love least about LV then? The cab drivers, they would take you to all the longest routes and run up the meter. Sound strangely familiar, even today?

    What was downtown like then? The Mint (part of Sahara group) and the Binion's were the kings of the grind joints. Then Steve Wynn came down and transitioned everything (Thank You Steve as I bought a few shares of GNG, way back when)

    jaidee1
     
  2. mwig

    mwig High-Roller

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    Great post! I didn't start going until the 90's and things have changed drastically since then. I can only imagine it was like before the corporations took over.
     
  3. RCRD

    RCRD Tourist

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    I really like this, thanks!
     
  4. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS High-Roller

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    Yes, really fun to read, but I think your recollection of Hacienda's location is off. It was basically where Mandalay Bay is now, further south than Tropicana and on the opposite side of LV Blvd.
     
  5. jaidee1

    jaidee1 Tourist

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    You're correct. I think Hacienda Blvd is still there and that is where that casino is at. Closer to where Luxor now stands. Can't recall what was on southwest corner of Tropican and Las Vegas Blvd.

    I think NYNY had the Holiday Inn Casino? Had fake roller coaster on the roof?

    Anyway, a long time ago? We didn't have Facebook or VMB back then. There was a BBS called alt.trips.lasvegas that I believe people shared Vegas info. That was at least 20 years ago?
     
  6. Imperial_Palace_King

    Imperial_Palace_King High-Roller

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    Great post. If I had a time machine one of my first stops would be Las Vegas during the rat pack era. Would really like to see how it was back then.
     
  7. pressitagain

    pressitagain Low-Roller

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    This is great!!! I am a sucker for historic accounts of old Vegas.
     
  8. sigsev

    sigsev Low-Roller

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    Loved reading this, hope to hear more!

    I'm interested to hear if you put any of Thorpe's ideas into practice, and what the suits' and your fellow players' reactions were.
     
  9. hotreds

    hotreds VIP Whale

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    Wonderful! Hopefully you also have some pix!
     
    Will give them a try!
  10. Jordan

    Jordan Caveman

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    Agreed.....awesome thread...plz "scan" and post some pics....lol
     
  11. Royal Flusher

    Royal Flusher Savvy Gambler

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    You can do whatever you like. Just keep it comin'!!!!!!!!

    LOVE this stuff.


    Yes, when Luxor opened, Hacienda was next door just south of it. I wandered through it once before it disappeared. I wish I knew then what I knew now!
     
  12. Gofaster87

    Gofaster87 Low-Roller

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    I love stories from old Vegas. Keep em coming. My first visit to Vegas was about 1980 as a young kid.
     
  13. jaidee1

    jaidee1 Tourist

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    Thanks for the feedback and I want create a quick summary of chapters I will try and cover over the next few posts -

    ii. More of the oldies - Silver Slipper, El Rancho (El Rauncho as we used to call it), Sands (best parking on the strip), Foxy's Firehouse, Silver Slipper, Vegas World and more
    iii. Gambling for comps - old style, what I learned from the "counters" and their books
    iv. Everyone wants a handout - how to get free shows, but you still paid for it, paying "juice" to get a good seat or feeling like a mob guy handing out twenties...
    v. Mirage was not a Mirage - how I won at the casino without gambling (buying MIR stock and then rolling over to WYNN/LVS)
    vi. Super Casinos abound, downtown transformed...

    Will continue to dig back in my memories to get what I recall from those days...I cheated by googling a few of the faded names and that brought back some vivid stories

    Looking forward to writing more...
     
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