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That's Not a Second Carry-on...That's My Liver. A CaptainJack Trip Report.

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by CaptainJack, Oct 11, 2012.

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  1. CaptainJack

    CaptainJack Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2009
    Messages:
    468
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    24

    My Trip Report

    I'm sure there are plenty of people who read these forums who have the nickname "Mr. Vegas" among their friends and co-workers. You're the person everyone goes to for advice on where to stay, what to do, how to get around. From the weather expectations to how much it'll all cost...you're the one everyone always turns to. I'm no exception. While I will gladly share my knowledge pre-trip with anyone who asks, I'm not very fond of playing tour guide when I'm in town, so I tend to beg off going with anyone other than my wife.

    Somehow a few months back, I got talked into going with three other co-workers for a guys weekend. They were interested in drinking, betting sports, drinking, assisting young ladies with their college tuition, drinking, laying by the pool...and if time allowed each day, they'd squeeze in a cocktail. I got spousal dispensation (with some conditions), got my host to comp me adjoining rooms at Aria, and before long the weekend was nigh.

    Flights
    They all live closer to Newark International Airport, while I live much closer to Philadelphia International...so we decided to fly separately. Oddly, my flights were cheaper leaving Friday night and their flights were cheaper for Saturday morning flying. Since grabbing a room for the night wouldn't be an issue for me, I flew out Friday night, they would follow the next morning. I arrived in Vegas at 8pm. I opted to book Planet Hollywood for my one night, mostly because I never stayed there, but also due to an offer for $450 free slot play with my comped room with only a one night minimum stay required. Check-in was smooth and I was given a Hollywood Hip room on the 38th floor overlooking the strip south.

    Blink 182
    When I opened the door to my room, I thought they had left music playing softly in my room. Hmmm, the TV is off, the radio is off...and its coming from the window. I opened the blinds to see that Blink 182 was performing at the Boulevard Pool Deck at Cosmopolitan...I had a pretty good view of the concert, and once I opened the vent, I could hear it fairly well also. Not being a Blink 182 fan, it didn't hold my attention. The HH Room is not all that impressive either. My room was Jim Carrey themed with a shirt from Bruce Almighty. Time to go downstairs and get some gambling in before my east coast bodyclock catches up with me.

    Gambling at the P-Ho
    I got my freeplay and headed over to the high limit slot room for some $5 9/6 Jacks. That's my game of choice. My goal for my one night stay was to give P-Ho about $40k coin-in. That's in-line with my historical averages. I ended up playing through $43k in roughly two hours and winning $3100. By this time it was 11pm and I was quickly losing steam. I decided to grab a quick bite at Planet Dailies. I flashed my Seven Stars card hoping it would get me preferrential seating...which was kind of silly considering the restaurant was more than half empty. I got a nice table by the television. :-/ Something told me the Tex-Mex Egg Rolls looked good...and they were good...but that much spicy at that hour made for a restless couple hours in bed later. I laid in bed making my own music while Blink 182 kept beat outside my window.

    Hey Hey The Gang's All Here
    East coast bodyclock had me up at 6:30am. I opted to just hang around my room for a couple hours and catch up on e-mails I missed during my transit across the country. I noticed many e-mails from my travelling companions. Apparently, in order to be sure not to miss their 7am flight, they stayed at the bars until closing and then went back to the office for a couple hours before heading to the airport at 4:30am. They made their flight and we're due to land at 9am. I packed up and caught a cab over to Aria. Within minutes, their cab pulled up and my three travel companions for the rest of the trip spilled out. Age range is from mid-30's to mid-40's. They're all single and proud of it. Considering they had been awake for 24 hrs, and considering the 5.5 hr flight...they looked pretty refreshed. Of course, checking-in at 9am on a Saturday seeking adjoining rooms is tough to pull off, and as expected I was informed it would be a couple hours before our rooms were ready. "Hey CaptainJack, where's a good place to watch some college football and grab a few drinks?" That would be the Skybox Sports Bar at Aria...and away we went.

    The Drink Hustle
    One of the tips I teach any potential Vegas visitor is the drink comp hustle. Since most newbies are intimidated by video poker, I point them towards the lousy BJ game on bartop machines. Playing $1 hands and tipping generously are your keys to the kingdom. Within minutes the guys were all smiles having drinks in hand, games on the screen, and betting sheets spread around the bartop, all for the relatively low price of small-stakes gambling. Little did I realize just how content they were with this...as this would pretty much be our position for the next 36 hours.

    Aria
    Within a couple hours, our adjoining rooms were ready. This is actually the first time I've stayed in a standard Aria room as I normally get a Corner Suite. Not bad at all. The guys seemed impressed too. Spending time in the room allowed blood to seep into their alcohol stream, so they wanted to go check out the pool area for a couple hours. Meanwhile I opted to go put some play in at the casino. My plan of attack for Aria was to average about $60k coin-in per day, but to weight my play more on the first two days...which being 9/29 and 9/30 were the last two days before the mLife program changes that would effectively lower my comp accrual. I stopped by the high limit slot cage and took out some markers to cover today's gambling. I settled in at a $5 machine and within a few minutes hit a straight flush for $1250. About an hour later another straight flush...for another $1250. Feeling good, I hopped around to various games that I don't get the chance to play on the east coast (at least never at decent pay tables). I especially liked the Five Star Poker machines which offer Super Times Pay, Dreamcard, Quick Quads and others in single line format. It does suck to get a 10x multiplier at STP only to have the hand be crap with only the single draw, but I did well on these machines. Since the guys were more than satisfied to sit at the bar and make some random bets on the college football action, I spent about 4 hrs playing VP. At my stakes I knew this would put me well over $100k coin-in for the day, but honestly, I lost track. At the end of the day when I checked my tier score on mLife, I was at 976,000 tier credits. Just 24,000 (or roughly 30 minutes of play) from Noir. With the next day being the end of the year for mLife, looks like I had a new goal for the next day. Over the course of the day, I had given Aria about $200k in action. A little high, but considering the guys sat at the bar for close to 12 hours straight, it’s not unusual. My win on the day was about $2000, bringing my two day total to just north of a $5k profit.

    Achieving Noir
    Sunday morning, and the first order of business is to procure good seats for the day’s NFL action. The guys decided the Skybox bar next to the sportsbook was perfect for them. So at 7:30am, there they sat, waiting for the games to start…and getting their drink on while they waited. Bloody Mary’s and Screwdrivers were the first order of business, but before long generous pours of Macallan 12 had the guys well lubricated all before the network pregame shows started (and before 9am!). After placing some ill-fated bets of my own, I settled into some single line 9/6 Jacks and plowed my way into Noir status. I’m not sure what the mLife changes will bring, or what “invitation-only” means for Noir going forward. All I know is that until Oct 1, 2013, I’m Noir.

    NFL = No Fun Losing
    By the 3rd quarter of the afternoon games, it was obvious none of my NFL bets were going to win today, furthermore, my VP luck had definitely soured. Despite a nice run early, including another straight flush, I had lost back $4k of my $5k profit. I decided to pry myself away from the bar and try my luck on the gaming floor for a while. After bouncing around games, I settled into some Triple Spin Poker at the $5 denom. A maxbet on this game is 27x$25 or $675. That’s a bit beyond my bankroll, so I typically played 1 game for 3 or 5 lines…keeping my bet size to between $75 and $125 per hand. The swings are pretty big on this game, and I bounced around between -$2000 and +$2000 while I played. I was up about $500 when the guys stopped by to say they were looking to get dinner at Todd English Pub and watch the Sunday Night Football game there. I said it sounded good to me, let me play a few more hands and I’ll join them. Turning back to my game I instinctively smacked the Max Bet button and then my heart sank. I had just wagered $675. Worse yet, the hand was fairly lousy, just two 4’s to hold. Oh well, it is what it is…lesson learned. I hit draw and the machine locks up for a handpay. Turns out I connected for a 4 of a kind three times over the course of the 27 hands. Whew…lucked out there. The handpay was for just south of $2k and allowed me to cash out with a big chunk of my earlier losses recovered.

    The Lovely Ladies of Spearmint Rhino
    After dinner the guys were interested in visiting a gentleman’s club. To be honest, they were exhausted from drinking all day and still being on east coast time…but they knew the talent drops off significantly after the weekend, so tonight was designated as prime strip club time. Even though I’m usually not a strip club guy, it was my duty to give value to their experience. So I called the strip club to arrange a limo pickup for our group. Here’s your nugget of useful Vegas info that you don’t often find in print: If you get in a cab and ask about a strip club, you’ll often get an offer to take you there for free. The cabbie gets a kick-back from the strip club for steering business their way. However, you end up paying for it, as you’ll be dinged for cover to enter the club. Meanwhile, if you call the strip club directly, they’ll send a limo to pick you up, and you’ll be escorted into the club without paying cover. You’re only charge is a tip to the driver. The talent at the club didn’t disappoint…although it never fails, the girls you like you never see again, the girls you’d rather not spend time with won’t leave you alone. The guys each donated a couple hundred dollars to the college funds of these girls, of course, the biggest rip off are the drink prices.

    It’s Time to Leave the Capsule if You Dare
    By Monday morning, I was restless. Outside of that trip to the Rhino, we hadn’t left our hotel. On Sunday I had gambled another $200k coin-in and quite frankly, I was tired of the Aria casino. The guys were dragging on Monday morning but I was determined to get us out and onto the strip…even if it meant I would have to be the dreaded tour-guide. We stopped by our usual bar for some breakfast in the form of Screwdrivers and then headed out, first stop was the Secret Pizza Place to get some food base for that shot of alcohol to settle with. Then I showed the guys most of the interesting parts of the center strip area between Aria and Wynn. We stopped for a while here and there to glom some free drinks at various bars, we played some blackjack, we played some craps…hey hey whatya know, it feels like Vegas now!

    First Day of the mLife Year…Might as Well Lock-in Platinum
    As evening rolled around, the guys wanted to watch the Monday Night Football game at their usual haunt. By now the bartenders knew them all by name and had their drinks ready when they saw them approaching. Since my football betting skills didn’t appear to be well-tuned this trip, I opted to gamble in the casino while they watched the game. Back to the Triple Spin Poker machine, I varied from 3-lines to 9-lines. At one point, while playing 7-lines, I was dealt a beautiful sample of each 7 in the deck. That dealt 4oak was worth $4375. Unfortunately, the handpay notice totally obscures the screenshot of the hand itself...so you'll have to take my word for it that it was beautiful, and settle for this picture of the handpay notice:
    [​IMG]
    I had some other good hits on a few other games and by the time the game was over, I was up about $7000 on the day. Checking mLife, I had already accrued 250,000 points for the new year. That works out to just under $200k coin-in…at least I was being consistent with my action to Aria. I offered to use my comps to take the guys out for a nice steak dinner. By this time it was 9pm and they didn’t feel like getting dressed up for dinner. We decided on the Bellagio Café, which I described to them as the nicest over-priced diner they’ll ever see.

    The Curse of the Round Number
    As I went to bed Monday night, I counted up my bankroll, set aside money to pay off markers, and realized I was up about $8300. That’s a decent result considering I didn’t hit any royals. Our flights aren’t until 2:30pm on Tuesday and I suppose there’s more time left to play, but honestly at this point, after over $600k coin-in, I’m a bit burned out on high-stakes VP. I woke up Tuesday morning and head down to get myself some light breakfast at the coffee stand by the poker room. I sat at the bar and chatted with Carlito, who had done a good job of (over)serving our group throughout the weekend. We had a few laughs about some of the funnier moments. While chatting, I couldn’t help myself and played some VP. Before long I was up $800, and the Curse started to take hold in my brain. Anyone who gambles knows of the dreaded Curse of the Round Number. It’s why nobody can ever stop when they’re up $95, they need to round it off to $100 to feel satisfied. I’d say the Curse has cost me over $10k over the years. Sure there are times when I’ve hit a big jackpot trying to round off, but more often than not, the house edge grinds into me, and I lose back a significant amount. DAMN YOU CURSE!!!

    So now I’m at +$9100 for the trip and aching to reach +$10,000. All the while, I feel a little dirty to be taking this shot. I should be happy with $8300, or even $9100…or $9093…round numbers be damned. For the next hour, I hop around various machines, trying to find the right blend of risk v. reward. Everything from 3-line $2 to 10-line $1 to my usual single-line $5. I dumped out my PointPlay several times to inch myself closer. Finally, I was $85 away and dropped down to a safe 3-line $1 game. Unfortunately, no matter what I did, I couldn’t get over the hump. Back to $225 away, I sat down at a $5 single line game, and decided I need to stop this madness. Play until I’m over $10k or at $9500 and walk away. No more than 5 hands later, I drew with 2 queens and got the 4oak and was safely over the $10k round number…I didn’t even want to know how far over…I didn’t want to think about the next round number.

    All Good Things Must Come To An End
    I spoke with my host and reviewed my play. I played a bit more than usual and used less comps than usual. I’m sure she was happy with that, despite my total win of $10,400. I am returning in early November with my wife, so my host agreed to put us up in a Sky Suite with some RFB. I’m probably still a bit under-comped for my play, but I doubt I’ll sustain $200k coin-in per day for future visits. $50-100k is more my comfort zone. Aria will be the second-half of my stay in November, the first half is at Caesars for my annual Seven Stars trip, which will include airfare and a folio credit. Hopefully I’ll churn out another trip report for that trip.

    PS: Sorry there weren't more pictures...there just wasn't much worth taking pictures of considering 80% of the trip centered around the sportsbook bar at Aria.
     
  2. Dpin300

    Dpin300 Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2012
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    Correct me if I'm wrong but were you playing 7 lines at 5 credits per line on a 5$ machine (Triple Spin Poker machine) totaling 175$ a spin/hand?

    Congrats on the 10k win, for some reason I can't play less than max lines. I can do without the max bet but never play less lines. Didn't know you could make money playing your way. Well played!
     
  3. bubbamsu

    bubbamsu Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2010
    Messages:
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    michigan
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    Great report and congrats on the winning.
     
  4. gongoman

    gongoman MIA

    Joined:
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    Great trip report:beer:
     
  5. sunny123

    sunny123 Tourist

    Joined:
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    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    liver

    Loved your report. Had to laugh out loud reading about not quitting $95 up. Just NEED to get it to $100. I too have lost fortunes to the point that my traveling companion says she'll give me the difference, just so I won't inevitably lose my winnings.

    Spin poker is way too addictive but it is SO much fun.

    Glad you had a fun time.

    :beer:
     
  6. luvstp

    luvstp High-Roller

    Joined:
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    Nice hits! I love that five star poker machine at Aria and have had some decent success at DSTP and STP. No love from the Dream Card though. I posted a pic back in May of quad aces with a 10X multiplier on DSTP. :beer:

    Love the spin poker hits--I don't play much of that game as there is just way too much going on to keep track of when I've been drinking.

    Best of luck in November!
     
  7. LaRae

    LaRae Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Thanks, Captain. I was laughing before I started to read because of your TR Title. Congrats on another winning trip! :beer:
     
  8. Tubbs

    Tubbs High-Roller

    Joined:
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    Great report thanks and congrats on a nice win. I appreciate the detail on the VP play, that is some heavy coin-in.

    Sounds like your friends had fun but I just cannot understand why they would fly from the East coast to spend most of the time at the bar, watching the football!
     
  9. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

    Joined:
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    Great report!:thumbsup:
    I am all too familiar with "The Curse".:cry:
     
    Christmas
    My wife's birthday
  10. Kimsa70

    Kimsa70 High-Roller

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    Great report CaptainJack! You make me wanna give up slots and play video poker exclusively. I just never seem to find the 9/6 machines. I'll try harder when I stay at Aria over Halloween.
     
  11. sco5123

    sco5123 VIP Whale

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    Awesome report! Super witty title.
     
  12. CaptainJack

    CaptainJack Low-Roller

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    Thanks everyone...

    @Dpin300: Yes, I'm still playing max coin, just not max lines. With the exception of Triple Play, Five Play, and Ten Play machines, the machines let you do that. For instance, you could play a 50-play machine, but only play 26 lines. This is important for someone who doesn't want to trigger a W2G on a dealt full house. The risk is you might instinctively hit max bet and throw up a little.

    @Tubbs: Exactly what I was thinking by Sunday. The were enthralled at the prospect of free drinks and close proximity to legal sports betting. To be fair, they probably spent less than $100 each over the course of the weekend at that bar...and most of that was in the form of tips. Their bar tabs back east would have been well over $500 each considering how much they drank.

    @Kimsa70: They're not hard to find if you check a site like www.vpfree2.com before you go. However, keep in mind, Aria doesn't offer 9/6 at any denomination under $5.
     
  13. Kimsa70

    Kimsa70 High-Roller

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    Thanks for the information. Definitely going find those 9/6 machines at Aria. I won $10,000 once on a $25 bet on a $5 Jacks or Better. I'm overdue!

    Congrats again on the great trip!
     
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