The D I stayed for four nights in early June. I liked the ambiance of the downstairs. It did not seem that different to me, just newer. I liked the feel of walking around in the morning. I suppose I will not if it gets super loud at night. Upstairs there always seemed to be disruption. Twice they took out my deuces machine to lay new carpet and the Veu bar was also closed for some period of time. Once they just started to do the nightly cleanup and cleaned around those of us who were still playing. Then I noticed a more than average number of repairmen working on machines. I suppose having the old machines means that there will be more breakdowns. Somehow all of that detracted from the feeling of the place and decreased the ambiance of my play. There were some really hot dancers downstairs in the evening. I enjoyed watching them. This new trend in Vegas is fine for me. It certainly attracts players and then sets them up to be distracted. I understand they are hiring more dancing dealers. FREE DRINKS REDUCED TO LOWER QUALITY The worst news was to learn that the selection of drinks included only bar well drinks and the cheap beer. I tried the brandy and it tasted awful. This is what has happened as well at the El Cortez poker room although the slot players still get anything they want there. That kind of pinching to save money won't attract gamblers unless all the other downtown casinos slowly follow that pattern. It was such a contrast to my discovering the Flamingo Leinenkugel beer in the poker room as well as Blue Moon. I stopped gambling at Caesar's when they stopped serving good drinks in the poker room. If all the premium drinks go away in Vegas, I'll reduce my visits. I go to drink free and gamble. If I want to just gamble, I can do that at home. On the other hand, Heineken and Corona will often satisfy what I crave in beer, and these were still at the Veu Bar, but not at the El Cortez poker room. LACK OF CASHIER Upstairs I am playing a nickel coin dropper and there was no where there to cash out. I have to carry the nickels down the escalator and to the main cage. There was a cage upstairs, but it was always closed. This did not encourage me to play there. LONG BAR It was long. It did have the reported pay table where the normal Bonus Poker drops the two coins for two pair and as reported the middle of the table was not booted up as sometimes happens, so this pay table starts out at 86%, the absolute worst I know of in Vegas. RF 250 SF 50 4A 80 4-2/3/4 40 4-5-K 25 FH 10 FL 8 STR 5 3K - 3 2P - 1 J o B - 1 However, there is a Royal Progressive. So it never stays that low 86%. It probably never gets very high either. Scattered around the downstairs was more VP than I had expected. None of it was good. Many of the bad pay tables seemed to follow the pattern of 8-5-4-3-1-1 on the bottom and a progressive on the top. But the standard 8/5 Bonus paytable was easily found and that too would often have a Royal Progressive. Look under the Gift Shop sign, for example, I saw a quarter 8/5 DB with a Royal Progressive. Some folks will still play at the bar. Imagine being short by $2.50 every time you hit either the full house or the flush. That really adds up. I can’t imagine playing at this Long Bar when just ten minutes away at the Boar’s Head Bar there is 9/6 JOB and great alcohol, including Black Chip Porter, as well as some bonus money on every quad. EV mathematics expressed in percentages sometimes seems a bit difficult for some minds to grasp. Luck seems more a factor in their thinking. So factor out the luck and figure your short pay this way. If you mark each time you hit the full house or the flush, and then multiply by $2.50, you can see in any session the difference in the amount a short paytable pays and what short pay does. In some sessions where you never hit full houses or flushes, there will be no difference. In others, the differences will be huge. You will win less and lose more. At the end of a few days you could buy a ticket to a show on the strip with the money withheld from your winnings. There was at the D a dollar 9/7 Double Bonus with a Royal Progressive, but no DB is going to compete with the Four Queens 10/7 with Royal Progressive quarter game next door. Which is where I play my big bucks. But I digress. Once you start comparing Long Bar games to those games that end with 8-5-4-3-2-1, you can easily find better plays. Or check out White Hot Aces. It has the 8-5-4-3-1-1, but compared to the Long Bar, it increases the Straight Flush from 50 to 80, the Four Aces from 80 to a whooping 240, the quad 2/3/4 from 40 to 120, and the quad 5-K from 25 to 50. I don't have the software to run that paytable, but if you can be tempted to play away from the long bar, this might be an alternative to the Long Bar. It would still not be the best play in Vegas. Many of the machines downstairs were coin droppers and I expect those will be moved upstairs when that becomes the Classic Section. There was an 8-5 BP dollar coin dropper with a full pay schedule. There were also some Triple Double Diamond slots that were coin droppers, including a nickel machine. 15 cents a bet and a progressive that went to $1584. I don't play those coin droppers much. TITO has made it so much easier for me to go to the bathroom every 7 hands. And the EV on a coin dropper is reduced by the amount I would tip on high hands to an attendant although the royal at the Vue is paid by attendant. And yes, there were little plastic buckets to catch the dirty coins. But don't rush over thinking you will get a collector's plastic cup. The cups so far do no have D on them. They are a generic, rather boring white cup with a picture of royals and a slot machine. So, I did not steal one. I saw more of the old classic slot formats than the newer video screen offerings, but my guess is that the new stuff, including penny slots, will replace the coin droppers as they are moved upstairs after the upstairs section is fully renovated. MCDONALDS It is there with a nice sun porch glass area, but it looks out on nothing, the side street between D and the 4 Queens and the day I was there it was mostly rock music. No free wifi unless your machine reads the Marriage is Murder password and then it is free. Or so said the clerk. The computer I take to Vegas is so slow and dysfunctional on internet sites that I was not able to try it out. The batteries don’t hold a charge for more than ten minutes. It is useless except to keep a writing journal of my days to post after I get home. It did have a dollar menu section for the frugal days when one buffet won't carry us into sleep. ROULETE They had a single zero wheel with dollar chips. (okay, just kidding) The dollar chip part is true, with a $5 minimum bet. I don't suggest you play this unless you don't mind playing the Long Bar Bonus. They are about the same in EV. BLACKJACK I saw a six deck game that pays 3/2 with a $3 minimum. CRAPS $5 Minimum. Field bet double pays double for 2 and triple for 12. Everything did look very new and nice. Upstairs was still the 8/5 Bonus at the Vue Bar with 3 progressives. Also, there is the nickel coin drop Deuces Wild full pay. It was frustrating that twice when I wanted to play these, the machines were gone to give them time to install new carpet. Both times were early morning hours. I did hit four deuces on the little nicklel machine, but I gave it all back and broke about even in the end on that machine. I don't think there is such a low risk nickel machine anywhere else in Vegas with a positive expectation payout like this one. I never found an exceptional payout on the 8/5 progressive quad line at the Vue Bar, and only a slight progressive on the royal line. All the work around the bar may have substantially decreased the players and left the progressives low. My nephew hit quads once, but only got $37 dollars, just a six dollar bump from the beginning. I hit for fifty dollars twice last trip. My wins on these machines came one day when I was trying to get my $5 cashback on checkout. See that story here: DINER I have never been much of a fan of this eatery and I would not seek it out, but I read some good reviews of the hamburgers, and I had a two for one American Casino Guide coupon on an afternoon when I was hungry for a limited non buffet meal and too exhausted to want to walk out of the D for anything. The burgers themselves were fine although I ordered medium and they were more like medium rare to rare. Few people were eating. The small fruit and salad bar did not come with the burgers. I had their special Foitz burger and a California burger. Assorted toppings were either on the burger or on a small plate for selection or rejection. I liked that system. The service was fine except for the way they considered my coupon. I started ordering by saying I wanted to use my coupon and was told that would be fine. When I food arrived my waitress then remembered to check that the coupon was not just for the Fitz hamburger. I thought that it was a bit late to worry about that. Mine was good for both. If you go with a coupon, check it out first with the cashier. I was attracted in part for the kettle chips they once made, but while those are on the menu and while earlier they told me they had them, I could not get them with my hamburger. I settled for shoestring, but they did not make them really crispy. I also tried the potato salad and found it the worst I have tasted anywhere in my entire life. MATCHPLAY AND FREEPLAY I somehow got five dollars freeplay, but it was the worst freeplay ever. Only a few machines were marked with the promo and it took me a long while to figure that out. Most of the ones that interested me did not honor freeplay. The machine I chose hit once for a dime in the whole play. I'd say that the only advantage to this promo is that anyone playing in the casino for cash can skip any machine with the "promo" sticker on it because those are certainly the worst plays in the house. One ten dollar matchplay also came with the room. I took it in two fives and found a table where I could roll. I rolled forever on the first roll and hit eleven about six times. But I was just playing off the matchplay. I won the first matchplay and lost the second so I had the entertainment of the roll and five dollar profit. THE ROOM Only some of the rooms have been renovated and it cost $30 more a night to upgrade to those, so this might be a place to try the $20 trick. Those are the rooms with new mattresses. We had the old thin mattresses that creates a rather hard sleep. Theoretically, this should have been a discomforting problem, but actually I was always exhausted and slept very well. My nephew left one morning at 4 am so we did an all nighter before his flight. I slept all the next day, getting up in the middle for some computer time and sleeping again until 9 PM. This enabled me to do a second all nighter of poker at Flamingo. I was fresh for that. I was not as fresh the next day, but this had more to do with Sunset Wheat beer at the Flamingo than the mattresses. The room was a standard bottom priced room. The sink drainage was a little slow. The television was an old one. The positioning of furniture was just nuts. The television was way over beyond the second bed and almost to the window. No one in the first bed could watch it. The round table had no nearby plug. I had to move it in between the beds to set up my computer. 2539 was the quiet I had asked, but the fine view of the mountains from the 25th floor was dimmed by the dark meshed screens covering the windows, like those on the Deuce buses. I hate that effect. I don't want to experience Vegas noir, especially when I am losing money. The elevators moved swiftly. I don't need to do much in the room except sleep and my nephew wanted only four hours or less of sleep, so I was rarely in the bed when I wasn't exhausted. The location is a great for changing hotels. I get three free weekend nights at the Four Queens and the move is easy. I can even make a few trips if I want if the Four Queens books me early enough. THE FUNNIEST HITS AT THE VUE BAR So I am checking out and I want my cashback. The woman tells me that I only have $4.80 and they pay $5, so I go up to the Veu Bar and play for a while. I get four hearts to the royal, hold them, and the queen makes the royal happen, a progressive that pays $1145. I go back down for my $5 cashback. Sorry, she says, you don't have enough. I talk and try to figure out what I need and basically I understand that I need 5 "sessions" so I play a fifty cent slot for 6 sessions, lose $16 and go for my $5 cashback. Nope, still not enough. Okay, against my better judgement I go back to the Vue Bar with the royal now not very progressed and the quad progressive still just about 6 dollars above the basic pay. The only good porgressive is the straight flush progressive that pays an extra $10. Yep, I hit that as well. Back at the desk, the clerk is smiling. I have enough to get my $5 cashback. It cost the casino about $1200 while I got 20 cents more of cashback so I could get my $5. FUTURE This place was fine to keep me from traveling the buses with heavy luggage and position me for easy transfer to the Four Queens. However, it was nothing I would seek out. I seeded it and I'll see if they actually give me a couple free nights for my next trip. Looking at the skimpy cost cutting they have done here, I expect future renovation will take away my incentives to play anything, and so after my next trip, this may be just a memory. My favorite playing was at the Flamingo poker room, and I was booked at first at the Imperial Palace for about the same price, but all the construction on my first two visits made me leery of going there the third time. Also, I worried when I saw the check in lines were at times three hour waits and knew that if I avoided those by checking in really late, I would be stuck with a very noisy room. It may seem laughable to say I might want to pay the big bucks for the Gold Spike, but that was my favorite place this trip. I love the pool and wifi would have been helpful. While there I even had one exhausted day when I just needed to rest and sleep and get fresh for the all out nights that my nephew would bring. The TCM channel made that a delightful recovery. Reduced parking makes it a hassle for folks who come with a car, but for bus riders it is fine. The bus to Sam's Town is even closer now, right across the street. However, it will be interesting to see how the D makes out. I guess the dancing girls make playing blackjack there popular. I can’t see how you can really watch a dancing girl and play any game. Other TR Snippets are available on the Vegas Adventure blog below.