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MC & Cosmo 2nd-7th Nov

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by lvmb, Nov 17, 2013.

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  1. lvmb

    lvmb Low-Roller

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    My Trip Report

    100th post trip report featuring my first $100 black chip Blackjack play, Le Reve, some gambling comebacks, some crazy blackjack players, my first Royal Flush and an airport slot win to put the cherry on top of a winning trip.


    Last time I wrote a trip report I found that I tend to ramble a bit, so apologies in advance. Feel free to quit reading or fall asleep at any time.

    The excuse for this trip was my wife's birthday.
    Let's be honest though, we'd have come anyway!

    Since time blurs when in Vegas, I'm going to split the report up by subject rather than attempt a strict day-by-day account.
    I know some people dislike multi part trip reports which take longer than the trip to post, so for them it’s all typed up in Word and ready to paste.
    It should be posted as replies within a few minutes.
     
  2. lvmb

    lvmb Low-Roller

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    Flight, arrival and general background.

    Flight was with Virgin Atlantic direct/non stop from London Gatwick.
    The only drama was that I broke the connector off my sound cancelling headphones for the 2nd time. Ticked off with that.
    It took about 40-45minutes to get through the border and customs checks this time, which isn't too bad.

    Taxi to Monte Carlo for our first 3 nights. No tunnel, no lunatic driving, no deaths in a flaming car wreck. Best you can hope for from a taxi in Vegas I think.

    We were booked in a Monaco Suite for 3 nights comped on a corporate offer. Resort fee is not comped. Boo! Comp should mean comp!
    We arrived at about 3:30 and reception was busy. That’s OK, cause we checked it at the VIP lounge in no time.
    The VIP lounge at Monte Carlo is available to Gold and above Mlife cards, not just by invite.

    The room was on a lower floor with a partial view of the strip. Clean and tidy, with no obvious problems.
    The Monaco Suites feel pretty spacious, the sofa is nice to have and the extra half bathroom is handy at times.
    The construction outside MC has virtually no impact, you can still get out the strip entrance to access the CVS next door or walk down past Diablo’s to NYNY.

    Picked up a hire car from the Avis desk at MC the following morning. Got a VW Jetta, which made a nice change from the usual Dodge/Chryslers.
    We always pick up the car from the hotel rather than the rental centre/center at the airport. The last thing we want to do after such a long day travelling is to spend even more time in queues/lines. We never need the car on the first day anyway.


    We didn't really have any plans; the only thing we'd pre-booked this time was Le Reve at Wynn. We were looking forward to some sunshine and warmth after a wet and windy start to autumn/fall at home.

    My wife has been hellishly busy at work, so the first 3 days settled into an easy routine of driving to Blueberry Hill diner on Flamingo for breakfast, followed by some slot play and ambling around.

    I spent the afternoons playing Blackjack while my wife napped, worked out, read or shopped. The evenings were mostly filled with a meal and some more wandering around, followed by more blackjack for me and sleep for my wife.
     
  3. lvmb

    lvmb Low-Roller

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    Moving Hotels to Cosmo

    We don't normally switch hotels mid trip, but having stayed at Cosmo in March, we'd received a 2-night comp offer that meant we could have all 5 nights 'free'.

    We checked out of Monte Carlo and left the luggage at the bell desk and went off for breakfast.

    Check in later that day at Cosmopolitan was smooth and the room was ready. Resort fee is comped at Cosmo. Bravo! Comp means comped here.
    The offer was for a Terrace Studio, but we ended up with a City Room as it was ready right then. No wrap around upgrade this time I'm afraid.
    The room was on the 56th floor and looked across to Rio. Very comfortable beds at Cosmo.

    I must admit switching hotels wasn't anywhere near as bad as I'd imagined it might be, it didn't use up as much time as I thought it would.

    I'd probably do it again if the offers fall that way.
     
  4. lvmb

    lvmb Low-Roller

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    Le Reve

    We've seen 'O' several times now and loved it. Lots of people write that they prefer Le Reve to 'O' so we thought we'd give it a go.

    It's a much smaller theatre/theater than O and is in the round.
    It's a bit like they've shrunk the pool from 'O', dropped it into the 'Love' showroom and then shrunk the whole thing a little more.

    The smaller size makes for a very close up view of the performances, which turns out to be both a blessing and a curse.

    We were only a couple of rows outside the splash zone. At times we felt we were missing out on the broader spectacle of the show, while at the same time being able to see a lot of the close up detail and effort involved in the performances.

    The show as a whole was a little more dance focused than out and out acrobatics, the story line wasn't nearly as abstract as the Cirque shows can be, and there weren't quite as many 'wow' moments for me as 'O'.

    I came out thinking that it was a great show and worth the money, but I think I still prefer 'O'.


    One final comment.

    There is far more splashing and running water than 'O'. Lay off the fluids and hit the restroom before you go in. Your bladder will thank you.
     
  5. lvmb

    lvmb Low-Roller

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    Food (and a lunatic Taxi driver)

    Breakfast was always at Blueberry Hill Diner on Flamingo as we both like the traditional diners over the hotel cafes.

    We ate at Dragon Noodle at Monte Carlo on our first night, which is now becoming a tradition. It's good food, and not too pricey for Vegas.
    Almost as importantly it's right there. When you've had a massively long day travelling, convenience and reliability wins over novelty.

    We gave 'STK' at Cosmopolitan a try when we moved over there.
    The food was truly excellent, perfectly cooked and seasoned, but we both found the room just too loud.
    Maybe we're just too picky, but if you're trying to have a nice dinner it's better if you can hear your dining companion without having to shout.
    You would expect a buffet to be noisy, but when you're paying $170+ tip for a 2 course dinner for 2 I think you deserve a little more refined surroundings than a bar with an over loud sound system.


    The rest of the time, in keeping with our chilling out trip, we just ate casually at Aria cafe and a couple of times at Grand Lux Cafe. I love seeing the wait staff's faces when I confidently order the Molten Chocolate Cake at the same time as my entree! I admit I'm easily pleased when it comes to food.

    We had one of the more typical Vegas cab rides back from Grand Lux at Palazzo to Cosmopolitan one night after dinner.
    The driver was a budding Indy or NASCAR racer come DJ.

    We should have known what we were in for when we almost caught air leaving Palazzo and the banging music in the cab was a touch on the loud side. After a few hundred yards we forgot all about asking for the music to be turned down.
    There were several low points, such as running a very very late amber light or two and a couple of hasty lane changes

    The real clincher (and buttock clencher) was doing 60mph on a 25 limit curve while overtaking 2 inches away from the BMW we were about to cut up as we carved back into the Cosmopolitan entrance.

    I guess we should have done the socially responsible thing and reported him, but we were just glad to have got there in one piece.
     
  6. lvmb

    lvmb Low-Roller

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    The Gambling (part 1) First of the Crazies.

    I played a lot of blackjack this trip as usual.
    I tend to play at $25 a hand and press when I’m up. My aim is to last long enough at the table to catch the good streaks in order to make some money.
    I prefer to play for a long time, so if I’m losing I drop right back down to table min if I need to.
    I’ve commented on a couple of threads in the past that I’ve always had a bit of a psychological barrier to playing with Black Chips once I’m on a streak. I’ll happily bet £200-$500 in green if the occasion arises, but I’ve chickened out of committing to black chip play. This trip would change that.

    I arrived in town with enough cash left from my previous winning trip to cover 4 of my 5 days gambling and about $100 a day for tips, coffee and snacks. The plan was to win the final days gambling budget during the first few days to avoid hitting the ATM.

    Things didn’t start out well when I went crazy on the first night and lost 2.5 days budget. I couldn’t hit anything without busting, and all the doubles and splits went the wrong way.

    Day 2 I didn’t fare any better.

    Monte Carlo was swamped by a coach trip of SE Asians (I’m not sure if they were Korean or Chinese as they didn’t speak any English). These guys had no clue how to play Blackjack, but did have very deep pockets.

    They always arrived as a crowd, and filled every empty spot on several tables. Often they were standing 3 deep watching their countrymen play around the casino.
    I saw absolutely everything you can imagine from these guys. Phones used at the tables, touching the cards, messing with the chips in the betting circle, trying to split non-pairs. The poor dealers and pit crew were run ragged trying to get them to understand the rules of the house. It was like trying to herd cats.
    They were at least tipping the dealers well, but I felt really bad for the Cocktail waitresses. I didn’t see them order a single drink in the hours I was there. Since the crowds watching were blocking lines of sight to the tables it meant that on many passes the waitresses would not be getting any orders from the tables either.

    Their actual play was even worse. They were “gut” players with no idea of basic strategy. They would peer at every hand on the table before theirs and have lengthy discussions about what to do. They were splitting tens, doubling hard 16 against 10 hitting all sorts of hands against dealer bust cards, hitting 17, standing on all sorts of hands against dealer 10’s. You name it, they did it.

    Now, I’m not really bothered by other peoples play so I found it kind of amusing that they were so clueless. I was steadily losing my stack but the table was kind of fun nonetheless. I got on a couple of rallies, but never really gained any ground.
    The main 2 guys were betting fairly large stacks of greens, and every time they lost, out would come the wallet and another $300-$1000 would be laid out. Clueless but wealthy.

    I finally gave up and went to bed.


    Day 3 Minor Comeback

    My early morning Blackjack session went well and I managed to claw back a couple of hundred dollars to prevent an early visit to the ATM.

    Later that day at MC, I was a few hands +/- on my buy in when the crazies arrived again.
    This time, I dropped back to table min to see how it went. Pretty well as it turned out. After about an hour of enduring the lunacy I was up $400 on a $500 buy in.
    An hour after that I’d given it back again. It was at this point I got chatting with one of the pit bosses about the non-standard play of the crazies. He was very firmly of the opinion that they’d cost me the $400 profit I’d given back. I tried to point out that I’d won it in the first place while they were playing the same way, but he didn’t seem to accept that as a concept.
    Either way, I stuck with it and caught another couple of small runs to make a $500 profit for the session.


    Whilst walking around the strip the rest of the time, I managed to donk off a fair wedge of money on slots with only 1 decent hit of $150 off a $0.40 bet on Invaders From the Planet Moolah. Love that game.

    I broke even at Blackjack at Wynn on the way to Le Reve.
     
  7. lvmb

    lvmb Low-Roller

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    The Gambling (part 2) Another Comeback and another Crazy.

    Cosmopolitan Blackjack.

    We arrived at Cosmo with my bankroll about where I’d expect it to be at this point on the trip. My minor comeback at Monte Carlo meant that I was back on budget at least.
    I had a losing session on arrival before dinner, but when I sat down later I had a fantastic time.

    I joined a table that had only been playing together for a few minutes and we all went on a marathon session. We were all doing OK and not wanting to leave. There was a lovely couple from SoCal, a twenty something guy and his mother and a middle aged guy at 3rd base. We played up and down for a good 2.5 hours and were all having fun. The SoCal couple had a basic strategy card with them, but were checking with me as they’d seen I knew the strategy off by heart. I will never offer advice un-solicited, but if people ask I will usually say “Well, the book says x but it’s your money”. As I said earlier, I don’t stress over other peoples “bad” play.

    I finally get on a good streak and start pressing. Pretty soon I’m up to a healthy pile of green chips. The Mother and Son left and we carried on.

    It was at this point that another English guy sat down. The SoCal lady was merry so said something like “Check with first base if you’ve got any questions, he knows what he’s doing”. The guy was carrying black and purple chips and proceeded to play the 2 open spots for several black chips on each as his first play. He was dealt 2 10’s and before any of us noticed he split them. You almost had to scrape our eyebrows off the ceiling and our jaws off the floor. We’ve all been playing solid basic strategy together for hours and this newcomer’s first play is to split 10s! Well, you know what happens next don’t you? He won both and hands AND saved the table. Other people’s play doesn’t matter. (Besides, I guess he may have been watching and counting and that was the correct play)
    He left a couple of hands later and we all had a good laugh about the situation.

    I stayed on a pretty positive streak and ended up cashing out up about $1300 for another good comeback. The SoCal couple couldn’t believe the run I was having and were saying they were going to be telling people this sessions story for months.
    I hope they’re reading this and see what happened a couple of days later!
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2013
  8. lvmb

    lvmb Low-Roller

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    The Gambling (part 3) Meltdown and Triumph.

    On my last full day in town I had another semi-meltdown. My previous good luck had got me back to about even for the whole trip, so I was on a mission to make some profit.

    Things started reasonably well first thing with an even session before breakfast. The SoCal couple spotted me at the table and stopped by to wish me luck as they were on their way to the airport.

    After breakfast I just couldn’t win a thing. Slot losses here there and everywhere and 2 really bad blackjack sessions where I barely got any play before having to raid the safe again.

    I went to bed with just 1 days budget left, and the feeling the trip was going to end up as a loser again.


    The final day triumph.

    My wife had gone off to the spa at Cosmo for the full Hammam treatment. She highly recommends it BTW.

    I settled down for a final session of Blackjack with my last day’s budget.

    I must admit I was extremely gun-shy at this point after the brutal hammering I took the day before.
    I was a bit disappointed that I hadn’t kept a little more of the budget, but my Vegas trips are all about lose it all or win big, so I wasn’t too mad with myself. I’d avoided the ATM and still had some money left to play with.

    Instead of buying in for $500 and playing green chip I went with $300 and red chips at a $15 table. That turned out to be one of the best decisions I’d made all trip.
    Things started off very badly and I lost several hands in a row. Every time I won a few and started pressing I’d catch a double or split which I’d lose. My stack was dwindling when F arrived. At this point there was just me and one other player.

    F turned out to be a really cool guy. He arrived at the table, seeming pretty drunk but definitely steamed up over his treatment in the High Roller room. He asked if we minded him joining, and we didn’t so he sat down.
    He brought a couple of yellows and a chocolate chip with him and proceeded to tell the two of us at the table that he’d just been sc*ewed by the casino in over an insurance bet he had signalled that they hadn’t taken.
    He then told the Dealer the same thing. Then the pit boss. Then the cocktail waitress. Then another player that joined later. Then us again. Then a different cocktail waitress who happened to be passing. Then the relief dealer. Then the next pit boss who happened along.

    All the time this was going on, he was taking a fairly long time between bets to figure out how much to play, apologising for the delay, tipping well and generally winning a few hands back to back.
    At one point he had 2 spots at $1000 each that split, doubled and won, resulting in a $4000 hand. He celebrated by thanking the two of us for playing our hands in such a way that he won. He then went on to put chips matching our usual bets of $15-$30 each for the 2 of us in our circles, and a $25 bet each for the dealer.

    This whole pattern went on for quite some time, and he was winning more often than losing. I’d been making some money back at $15-$40 dollars a time and I was back to a modest $100 profit too.

    Quite a long time after he joined he was still going on about the high limit room so we pointed out he should have a look at his chip stack now, and let it go.
    I told him he sounded like Joe Pesci as Leo Getz in Lethal Weapon 2 . You know:” They f**k you at the drive thru”. He took this in good humour and replied (in a very good Leo Getz impression) “OK, OK, OK”.

    He finally hit the wall and decided to go to bed. This was the morning after he arrived and he hadn’t made it to bed at all yet. He cashed out with something like $26K for about a $20K profit as far as I could tell.

    F – If you’re reading this by any chance you’re a top gent. Hope the rest of your trip went well. Thanks, and look what happened next....


    After F left, the run I’d been waiting for all week finally arrived. The table filled up and at last, the splits and doubles started working out. The pressed bets won instead of losing.
    I made it all the way up to playing large stacks of Greens. Now was the time to break my fear of Black Chip play.

    I coloured/colored up all my green chips in play for blacks. The dealer had to check with the pit for permission. He was cool, as he’d been watching my play for a while (4 piles of chips ready to play and a chip added to each stack every time I won). He said “I don’t want to mess with your pressing system” and that it was fine so long as I cashed in the black chips before I left. I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to? Maybe to dodge the scrutiny that Purples get?

    I started off with $400 bet and kept winning and pressing when I’d won a couple in a row. Each time I lost, I evened out the remaining 3 piles of chips back to 4 and kept going. I finally quit when I lost an $800+ hand, and I saw that I could now end the trip with a $1200 profit!!!!


    I had a quick breakfast at the Henry (very nice!) and spent the rest of the morning pottering round playing a few low cost slots. Got a bit bored, but didn’t want to risk any of my profit.

    I finally settled on a 1 cent 100 play Video Poker machine playing JOB at max bet of $5. Got dealt some good hands and kept playing for about 30 minutes before hitting my first ever Royal Flush for a whopping $40. Sorry to all you VP players that it wasn’t a real big one.


    The final cherry on the cake came at the airport on the way home. I hit a slot in the smoking area at McCarran for another $40 to pay for lunch.
     
  9. lvmb

    lvmb Low-Roller

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    The Wrap Up.

    Thanks for sticking with it if you reached this far. Hope you enjoyed reading.

    One final story from the trip.

    We had a fantastic cab driver back to the Airport from Cosmo. Drove like a chaffeur. Smooth and calm. He even had some very nice classical music radio station on in the cab and we were wafted back to the airport in a serene manner. Marvellous end to the trip.

    That's my last trip until March next year, so I'm off to the user control panel to see if I can now add a countdown after my 100th Post.

    Good luck to all of you.
     
  10. TheCanoe

    TheCanoe Low-Roller

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    Mg reay read, thanks for sharing. I don't think you rambled at all

    Wonder what it's like actually winning at the airport :)
     
  11. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Thanks for sharing! Lots of detail. But take pics of slot/video poker hits next time though...everyone loves pictures! And my first royal at the casino was a $40 penny royal too...meh
     
  12. lvmb

    lvmb Low-Roller

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    Thanks TheCanoe. Glad you enjoyed it!

    To answer your question;


    It'a great!
     
  13. lvmb

    lvmb Low-Roller

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    Thanks for reading. I do feel a little guilty about the lack of pictures, but I don't carry a camera around any more. I don't usually even have my phone with me!

    I'll try my best to get and photograph a few good hits in March. Deal? :thumbsup:
     
  14. Tree DA

    Tree DA High-Roller

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    Great read, thanks for posting. Getting me psyched for my next trip in a few weeks!
     
  15. marcianofan

    marcianofan Low-Roller

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    Tks for posting, that sounds like a great trip, especially coming out ahead! The only problem I really have with tourists from , as you said SE Asia, is not their play or standing in big groups around a single table, but their smoking. I'm not a smoker and I really don't mind smokers, as long as the smokers are somewhat polite about it and don't smoke like a bunch of 13-14 year olds. In other words taking really big whiffs of smoke then blowing out into the air not giving a sh$t about anyone else or even realizing that they're blowing straight at others. And when they get in big groups together, whew I have to get the hell away or there's going to be a big argument....
     
  16. sam_marques

    sam_marques High-Roller

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    Really enjoy your trip reports, love all the details. Looking forward to your next TR:beer:
     
    Mommys Solo Trips
  17. RAWDAWG33

    RAWDAWG33 Low-Roller

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    Love the whole report. Stories were entertaining. Great comeback. Thank you for writing it
     
  18. lvmb

    lvmb Low-Roller

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    Thanks for the positive comments folks. Glad you liked the report.
    I hope you all have a good time (and win!) on your trips too.
     
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