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Tales of a Reformed Low-Roller 11/27/06-12/3/06 (yeah, super late)

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Ringo, Feb 28, 2007.

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  1. Ringo

    Ringo Low-Roller

    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Messages:
    362
    Location:
    Kent, OH
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    9

    My Trip Report

    I finally got around to posting this report. I hope I remember everything. The details of meals will be a little sketchy…I won’t remember exactly what I ate sometimes, I’ll just remember if I liked it or not.

    Pre-Story
    I work in the Financial Aid office of a college. Last Spring, my boss called me into her office and told me she was sending me to the Department of Education conference in Las Vegas. A trip to my favorite place with flight and Monday through Thursday hotel (Paris) already paid for? Is this a trick question? I almost shrieked like a little girl!
    Since I already had all of my expenses covered, I thought it would be a good idea to ask my then-girlfriend (now-fiancée) along as well. No, I didn't propose to her in Vegas…I did it a few months before we left. She had never been to Vegas before, and didn't quite understand why I liked going there so often. "It's just a city", she told me. So I figured this would be an excellent opportunity to show her how wrong she was. So I booked our tickets on Continental (I only had to pay for hers) and booked the Friday and Saturday after the conference at the Venetian. Since the rest of the trip was paid for, why not splurge a little, right? Since all of my previous trips were low-roller ventures with the boys, this was by far the nicest Vegas room I'd ever booked (heck, Paris was nicer than anything I'd ever booked before). And what better way to show the Future Mrs. Ringo (hereafter known as FMR) the nice side of Vegas? Also, both of us have been playing online poker and learning how to play. FMR plays the play money tables on Party Poker (she's very tight and disciplined), and I play for small amounts of cash on PokerStars for a modest profit. Before the trip, I read Sklansky's "Small Stakes Hold-Em" to prepare myself to play a little live low-limit poker for the first time.

    Monday, November 27
    We left Cleveland just before 9:00pm Eastern. Our flight was uneventful, and we touched down in Vegas just about 10:30pm Pacific. Wow, was it cold in Vegas that week! It was warmer in Cleveland when we left than it was in Vegas when we landed. That was definitely a first for me. We got our luggage and went to the airport check-in only to find it closed. So we went to get our rental car. I had ordered a midsize, but they were out. So they gave us a Dodge Magnum for the same price. First score of the trip!
    We headed to Paris, arriving at the check in desk right around midnight. The line was only a few people deep, and I prepared to see if I could pull a $20 trick. However, I never got the chance. Once we got in line, a man from the hotel came up to us and explained that due to the large conference taking place this week all of the regular rooms were already booked. All they had left for the night was the Charlemagne Suite on the 32nd floor! It was a corner room facing the strip with two bathrooms, a fancy living room area, wet bar, and a pop-up TV in the bedroom. FMR and I were very impressed. The other three nights they put us up in a "P" room on the 26th floor. All at the regular room rate that I booked last April (that I didn't pay for anyway), and all without Andrew Jackson even showing his face! Thank goodness the airport check-in was closed! Score number two!

    Tuesday, November 28th
    I got up in the morning and headed for the conference. I'll spare you the fascinating details of Federal Financial Aid. FMR looked around at the nearby casinos, checked out the stores, and played a slot or two while I was busy with the conference, meeting me for lunch every day then meeting up again to do something for the evening. The only bad thing about spending the night in the Charlemagne Suite was that since we got in so late and I had to get up so early, I spent very little time awake in it. I burned through almost $100 at the craps table at Bally's between morning sessions...ouch! We moved our luggage down to the "P" room on my lunch break and ate at the Cafe Ile St. Louis. We both had sandwiches that were pretty good. After the conference let out in the afternoon, I met up with FMR at the Bally's Poker "Area". I immediately got a seat at the same 2/4 table she was at and started to play. It was a nice, friendly place to play poker. And man, did the players here stink. Some people didn't even know how to play, and many of those who did made terrible calls. A little less than three hours later, I cashed out about $80 ahead. FMR wasn't getting the cards, so she finished a little bit down, but my winnings more than made up for it. We ate some dinner that I don’t remember and went to bed.

    Wednesday, November 29th
    Another early morning for the conference. I stopped off at the craps table at Bally’s again in the morning. I had a half hour before the next session, so I figured I’d play through until I got my roll. The shooters before me won a few and lost a few. Overall I was probably down about $20 when my roll came up, and I had about five minutes before the next session started. I figured I’d roll a few, seven out, then head to the session either on time or a couple minutes late at worst. Wrong! I went on the craps roll of a lifetime. The whole roll took about 45 minutes, and I rolled a fire bet winner (successfully hitting all six points without sevening out). And I also hit a few points more than once. It was surreal. The table (which eventually got very crowded) was going crazy every time I hit a point, and casino employees in suits were watching with interest and making phone calls. Two people at the table had placed money on the fire bet, which pays 1,000-1. One guy had $1 on it, the other had $5! The latter guy won about $9,200 total from my roll! Overall, I’d say the whole table won about $20,000. So if you noticed a drop in your HET stock on November 29th, now you know why. :D I just played the minimum $10 pass line bet with $20 odds, and a place bet on the 6 and 8, so I walked away with about $600 for my efforts after tipping the table $50. I’m quite the low roller, so this is by far my biggest hit ever in Vegas. I kept the chips so I could show FMR when I met her for lunch. I tried a few times over the next few days to show her how to play craps and how much fun it could be, but I couldn’t hit anything the rest of the week. So obviously she didn’t think it looked like much fun. It wasn’t for me either. It’s going to be hard to ever top the fun I had on that monster roll.
    I met FMR over at the Bally’s poker “Area†again in the afternoon. She was doing much better than she did the day before. She was up a little bit when I got there, so she decided to play though one more blind before we headed out. On her last hand, she was heads up against one other player with four diamonds on the board, including the Q, J, and 10. I said to myself “she better have the Aceâ€. Well, she did. And the K to boot! Royal Flush! She won the high hand jackpot of $186 in addition to a pretty decent pot.
    That evening we walked down the south end of the Strip, all the way down to Mandalay Bay, stopping at all points in between. We ate dinner at Gonzalez y Gonzalez at NYNY. It was okay. On the way back, we stopped at the Monte Carlo Brew Pub to catch my favorite Prince tribute band, Purple Reign. I played some $10 blackjack to pass the time before the show started and quickly lost $100. I had the worst luck with blackjack on this trip. Thankfully I only played two sessions of blackjack the whole week, losing $150 total. And since we both did so well today, I wasn’t going to let one bad blackjack session bring me down. We watched Purple Reign’s first set, grooved to the tunes, and headed back to Paris to go to bed.

    Thursday, November 30th
    I didn’t gamble in the morning at all this day. I met FMR for lunch at the Paris buffet. It was fantastic, especially since we saved quite a bit on some coupons we got for signing up for a Total Rewards card. We played some slots during my lunch break, and did pretty well. We won almost $200 between that giant WOF machine and that Monopoly group bonus machine. Unfortunately, we ended up losing it back and then some over the next few days.
    The conference went later into the day on Thursday, so I drove down to Excalibur to meet FMR at the poker room, where she was already playing. I got a seat at her table right away and we played for about six hours. We had a great time at the Excalibur poker room. It’s a good place for beginners to play. Everybody at the table was friendly, the dealers were pretty nice, and the play was downright awful. Once again, anyone with any idea of how to play hold ‘em will make a killing. We just smiled and took their money. I had a few card dead streaks, but I hit two nut flushes vs. two not-quite-so-nut flushes (both against the same poor guy) and won some big pots. Next thing you know, it’s after midnight and since I had an early morning the next day we reluctantly stopped for the night and headed back to Paris. Each of us cashed out over $100 ahead.

    Friday, December 1st
    This was the last day of the conference, and it wasn’t a full day. I was glad to have a couple days of nothing but free time coming up. We ate breakfast at the Paris buffet. Once again it was fantastic. Then I finished up with the conference, we gathered up our luggage, loaded the Magnum and headed to the Venetian for the weekend. Check-in was a breeze, the staff was very helpful and the standard room is very nice. The décor and condition of the Venetian room was much nicer than the “P†room at Paris (and what a bathroom!), but the walls seemed a lot thinner. I could hear a lot more noise from the hallway at the Venetian than I could at Paris. Some of it could be explained by us having a corner room at Paris, but not all of it. Overall though, the Venetian was pretty nice. The casino and other public areas were beautiful. I may be a traditional low-roller, but I love gawking at the cheesy splendor that is Vegas.
    Friday night was dress-up night. I put on my suit and tie, FMR put on her fancy dress, and we headed next door to Harrah’s for dinner at the Range. This was the first time I’ve ever eaten at a Vegas restaurant that took reservations. On previous trips with the guys I ate most of my meals at Fatburger or the O’Shea’s food court. The salad had this mango/bacon ranch dressing on it and it may be the best salad I’ve ever had. However, the steak was a little disappointing. It was good, but not $40 good. I got mine medium well and FMR ordered hers well-done; we got back medium-scorched and scorched. You can cook a steak well without blackening the outside. The quality of the meat was good once we got past the scorch marks. I had a big, tasty baked potato on the side and FMR got the $6 mac and cheese, which I sampled. To paraphrase Pulp Fiction, I don’t know if it was worth $6, but it was pretty good. Definitely the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had. In all, the meal cost about $140, including drinks and tip. Good, but not great.
    After dinner we got in the car and headed Downtown. Since FMR had never been to Vegas before, I figured she needed to see it and this was the best night to do it. We parked at Binion’s (note to Binion’s: replace the elevator in your parking garage. It is the slowest and cruddiest elevator I’ve ever ridden in.) We stopped in a few of the downtown casinos, but the only gambling we did was dropping $50 in blackjack at Binion’s. We caught a peek of the new pool at the Golden Nugget. Wow, does it look nice! We also saw the new and “improved†Fremont Street Experience. L-A-M-E! I didn’t think it was possible to make something so dumb with that much technology, but FSE found a way. We both didn’t feel like hanging around much, so we headed back to the Venetian. Overall, I’m not a huge fan of Downtown outside of Main Street Station and the El Cortez, neither of which we got to see. Oh well, maybe next time.

    Saturday, December 2
    After hearing many good recommendations on this site, we decided to give the Peppermill a try for breakfast. We both thought it was great. The portions were generous, the food was good (I had an omelet and a side of hash browns), and the atmosphere was really neat. I’d definitely go back. So I guess I’m another Peppermill convert.
    We had the sudden urge to see a show, so I ordered tickets for Ka at the MGM Grand later that night. In the meantime, we went across the street to the Mirage to check out Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden. We saw dolphins, white lions, white tigers and other assorted cats. It was enjoyable, and a nice break from the casinos.
    We ate something I don’t remember then headed to MGM for the show. Ka was great. The acrobatics and special effects were amazing. The only downer was this buttwad behind us who not only didn’t turn off his cell phone, but proceeded to answer it when it rang and carry on a conversation for a few minutes. Unbelievable!
    After the show, we headed back to the Venetian. We took a gondola ride, which was fun. Our gondolier was a very good singer. If I ever move to Vegas, I want to moonlight as a singing gondolier. Then we headed to the Venetian poker room. I wasn’t aware that they spread $2/$4 here, but we weren’t ones to argue. So we sat down at a table they were just starting and began to play. I love the Venetian poker room. It’s beautiful, roomy, and non-smoking. I’ve heard great things about the cocktail service, but I didn’t notice anything spectacular while I was there. But since I wasn’t looking to get drunk, I didn’t really care. The play was a little better here than Bally’s and Excalibur, but not by much. I have a feeling $2/$4 hold ‘em is going to have pretty bad play wherever you go. Part of the reason the play was bad was that it was Saturday night: this was by far the drunkest table we played at. A group of three guys were knocking back drink after drink and having a grand old time. One of them assigned nicknames to everyone at the table. I was “sweater guy†and FMR was “purple shirt girlâ€. There was also, “lazy guyâ€, “scruffy guyâ€, “new guyâ€, “other guy†and so on. The table, in turn gave him a very appropriate nickname: “drunk guyâ€. For a while, FMR and I were doing well. We had over $200 in profit between the two of us, mostly from the three drunks. But then one of the drunks started getting some great cards, and our profits dwindled to about $50. I wish we could have stayed longer because that table was ripe for the picking, but it was 4:00am and we’d already played six hours so we had to call it a night.
    Sunday, December 3
    Time to go home, so not much to report today. We had an early afternoon flight, so we had time to catch breakfast at the Grand Lux Café. Wow, what a great breakfast! It was right up there with the Paris buffet. Plus we each got $6 off from our poker comps. Then it was off to the airport and back to Cleveland. Once again the flight was uneventful. It was colder in Cleveland when we arrived than it was in Vegas when we left, but it was because Cleveland got colder during the week, rather than Vegas getting warmer.

    General Observations
    FMR loved Vegas! She may even like it more than I do, which is scary. Matter of fact, she wants to go back for our honeymoon! I think I’ll keep her. She’s also quite a poker player. Like I said before, she’s very disciplined and waits for a good hand. Although somtimes I don’t think she aggressive enough when she gets a monster hand. She’s also small, cute, and unassuming. Most people don’t even notice her until she has all their chips. Our first venture into live poker was a huge success. The play was way worse than any online table I’ve ever played at. Between the two of us, we won over $600 at the poker table on this trip playing only $2/$4 limit. Coupled with my incredible craps roll, that made this trip very profitable despite losing a couple hundred at slots and blackjack. Poker is also a great game for socializing. We had a great time playing and chatting with our fellow players and the dealers. Next time, we’ll definitely play more poker and less of the other games, and maybe play higher limits or try some tournaments. I don’t have the confidence to play no limit yet.
    Since this is the first time I’ve been to Vegas with a female, it’s also the first time I’ve ever attracted the attention of the notorious time share hawkers. I’ve heard other people say how annoying they are, but it doesn’t really sink in until you experience it for yourself. The first few times they took me by surprise and I found myself talking to them before I realized what they were. But since they always start off by asking how long you’re going to be in town I perfected my technique of getting rid of them after a few days: when they asked how long we were going to be in Vegas, I simply said we were going home tomorrow morning even if we still had five days left. It ended the conversation quickly and politely. Plus lying to the time share guys is fun. :D
    I had a great time on this trip. Since I did a lot of things (Cirque show, fancy hotels and restaurants) I hadn't done on previous trips, it was almost like discovering Vegas all over again. Can't wait to go back!
     
  2. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    19,131
    Location:
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    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    Great line! Glad you had so much fun introducing FMR to the city you love--bodes for a GREAT marriage (I speak from experience:thumbsup: )
     
  3. bigalbr

    bigalbr VIP Whale

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Trips to Las Vegas:
    10
    Nice report. Glad to hear the poker went well. As you found out, the best $2/4 game is the one that's convenient. They're all pretty beatable.
     
  4. Jack21

    Jack21 Guest

    Always a good start to a TR with "reformed low roller" in the title.:poke:

    Seriously though, great report. Alwys enjoy hearing about great dice momentum that wins pass/come players boatloads. One of the greatest feelings in life...like group sex without the guilt or mess.

    P.S. She's a keeper!
     
  5. gmoney590

    gmoney590 VIP Whale

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Sounds like you and the FMR had a great trip. Once you introducted Vegas to the FMR she couldn't help but love it. You'll be planning more frequent trips and you may have to drop the "lw roller" completely.
     
    Back where we belong
  6. jojo

    jojo Newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
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    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    Very nice Trip Report. Sweet little deal on the room upgrade, and the craps and poker action sounds awesome! I love that role......unassuming little girl at the poker table. Nice!!
     
  7. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    I bet your highlight of the entire trip was the 45-minute craps run.
     
  8. Ringo

    Ringo Low-Roller

    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Messages:
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    Location:
    Kent, OH
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    9
    It was, but I wish someone I knew could have been there to see it. While it was fun being a rock star to a table full of complete strangers, describing it to FMR and my friends (especially those that don't understand craps) just doesn't do it justice. Kinda like a tree falling in a forest with no one around to hear it.
     
  9. Gamerooster

    Gamerooster Guest

    Don't sweat it. You told us.
     
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