1. Welcome to VegasMessageBoard
    It appears you are visiting our community as a guest.
    In order to view full-size images, participate in discussions, vote in polls, etc, you will need to Log in or Register.

Mirage 7/31-8/3

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by HotDogIsASandwich, Aug 4, 2015.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. HotDogIsASandwich

    HotDogIsASandwich Tourist

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2015
    Messages:
    5
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    1

    My Trip Report

    My dad booked a trip to Vegas to visit his parents (who had moved out there from Brooklyn years ago), and brought me along for the purpose of keeping him company (I'm the only one of my three brothers of legal gambling age) as well as celebrate my starting grad school.

    We were between the Mirage and the Aria, and chose to stay at the Mirage, as there was no point spending $40 a night extra when we were barely going to be in the room.

    I had a few specific goals for the trip, some realistic and some far less so:
    1. Maintain my lifetime winning gambling bankroll. (I entered Vegas +$147 lifetime, thanks to a few good blackjack sessions during a pair of trips to Atlantic City with my fraternity brothers.
    2. Get a $1 chip from as many casinos as possible.
    3. Take a picture with Steve Wynn. (Wynn and I share an alma mater, and he's donated millions to the University. He was even a brother of my fraternity's rival.)
    4. Test out a few simple card counting systems at the El Cortez.
    5. Try my hand at poker in a safe, low-limit game.
    6. Get my money's worth of chicken wontons at Lotus of Siam.
    7. Play at the Pinball Hall of Fame.

    (I'll attach a few pics at the end).
     
  2. HotDogIsASandwich

    HotDogIsASandwich Tourist

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2015
    Messages:
    5
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    1
    Day 1: 7/31

    The flight out of JFK was smooth and uneventful. After I obtained an MLife card with my prior play at the Borgata already applied to it, we dropped the bags off and drove over to the Mandalay Bay, where my grandparents were waiting for us at Burger Bar. I didn't have room this time for the cheesecake dessert burger, but it was just as good (if not better) than I remembered it. On the walk back to the car through the Mandalay Place shops, my dad and I noticed a very depressed and lonely-looking Pete Rose waiting for autograph seekers at a memorabilia store. As funny as it would have been to purchase a signed ball with an "I'm sorry I shot JFK" inscription, I passed, and we drove to El Cortez.

    El Cortez didn't live up to my expectations, for a variety of reasons:
    1. My dad and I were stunned that the valet in front was free, while the self-park garage cost 10 bucks. Needless to say, we took the valet.
    2. I walked over to a single-deck table, where there was one shabby-looking guy playing by himself. I saw his large stack of black chips, assumed (incorrectly) that he was a counter, and so when he encouraged me to put $20 down for my first hand, I thought he was doing me a solid. I was wrong. Lost the hand. Next hand, he lays a green chip of his own atop my red. That loses too. As he started to visibly lose control and bet with black chips, I elected to ignore him, especially when he blamed me for "costing" him $350 on a hand after I split a pair of 8's against a dealer 6. Even if my play could have affected his...I was sitting to his left. The final straw came when I started going through my reds with my dad to see how much I was down, and heard him make a comment about "Jews counting their money." After that, I walked away from the table, and saw him lose every cent he had from afar. Lovely guy. I wasn't able to get a decent count going while playing heads-up at the other table, but won back everything aside from the original $20. As good as the blackjack rules are, I don't want to play there in the future.

    We met up with my grandfather for dinner at Delmonico's in the future, where my petit ribeye paired perfectly with a Bombay Sapphire gin gin mule.

    I checked out a few of the casinos around the Mirage (Caesars, Bellagio) before my lack of sleep caught up with me.

    Dollar chips acquired: Venetian, El Cortez, Caesars Palace, Bellagio, Mandalay Bay.
     
  3. TXactuarial

    TXactuarial Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2014
    Messages:
    324
    Location:
    Iowa
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    6
    I've heard ElCo is quick to get you heat when counting even at the reds level.
     
  4. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2013
    Messages:
    9,888
    Location:
    Missouri
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    15
    Yeah, most counters say it's a "badge of honor" to be "backed off" at the El Cortez. Sorry you had to tolerate his sore losing behavior.

    Nice start so far.
     
  5. Alhanalasa

    Alhanalasa Low-Roller

    Joined:
    May 12, 2013
    Messages:
    114
    Location:
    New Hampshire, USA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    5
    Hubby and I eat in Rira's at least once a trip, and Pete Rose is pretty much always in that store. I always feel bad for him. Not sure I've ever seen people waiting for his autograph. :(
     
  6. wookie

    wookie Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2010
    Messages:
    113
    Location:
    San Antonio
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    10

    That could have given you away as a card counter.

    Sorry you had to deal with an ahole
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 7, 2015
  7. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2013
    Messages:
    9,888
    Location:
    Missouri
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    15
    Does El Co really sweat that much? I know a lot of people don't play basic strategy to a tee, but this is a pretty easy split...

    Now if he had a 20 vs 6 and splits, then yeah, that's immediate red flag for counting or a bad player (depending on the count).
     
  8. HotDogIsASandwich

    HotDogIsASandwich Tourist

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2015
    Messages:
    5
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    1
    Day 2:

    After waking up and running off the jet lag, my dad and I walked over to visit the Penn Sigma Alpha Mu chapter house (AKA, Wynn and Encore). I had seen plenty of pictures of all the floral displays and Jeff Koons sculptures, but that doesn't prepare you for actually seeing the place in person. Wow! No sign of Steve himself, but I plan on coming back in a year or so with a bunch of my friends from Penn and asking our way up the management ladder until we're able to get a pic with the guy and shake his hand. I played a little bit at an empty $15 dollar table in Encore with good rules (surrender!) and considered the small amount of money I lost sufficient compensation for the millions of dollars that Mr. Wynn has donated to the University since his graduation.

    We drove over to the Pinball Hall of Fame, which was one of my favorite moments of the whole trip. I was sucked in by a Space Jam machine, while my dad racked up points on a Bally's machine that dated back to his childhood for a solid half-hour. It's awesome seeing all of the flashing lights and machines from different eras, and it's a good way to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon.

    Lunch at the Aria buffet was disappointing. The food wasn't bad, but both credit card readers broke when we reached the front of the line, and the food, though decent, certainly wasn't worth 30 bucks a person. I wasn't a fan of the casino, either. Though the poker room looked beautiful, every single blackjack game (even the $25 minimum tables) paid out at 6:5. I also found the atmosphere to be a bit sterile, to be honest. It's hard to tie the casino's architecture to a single unifying theme. Though I heard the rooms are nice, I'm glad we chose not to stay here.

    Dinner at Lotus of Siam with my grandparents lived up to the hype, and then some. Chicken wontons, chicken satay, chicken pad Thai, beef curry...each dish was better than the last! It's hard to believe that the best Thai food on the planet is located in a sketchy strip mall across the street from a sex club, but it's true.

    I must have been the youngest person in the Mirage theater for Jay Leno's stand-up set, but I found him hilarious and eminently relatable. He even fired off a shot at Lawrence Taylor, my all-time favorite athlete. His opener, though...yeesh.
     
  9. Flowers

    Flowers VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2014
    Messages:
    1,149
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    30
    Great report writing. I was supposed to go to Lotus last trip and wound up not making it. Your description of the food is making me hungry.

    I knew there was a connection between Borgata and MGM but didn't realize the card connection. Can you use/transfer points earned at Borgata to MGM props in Vegas?
     
  10. TimLion

    TimLion Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2013
    Messages:
    287
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    7
    I'm shocked about Aria's blackjack tables. I was there in April and all the 25s were 3:2...

    Little nervous about October now!

    Oh well...

    Santé,
    TL
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.