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The Super Caesars freeload. Sep 22-29

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Nevyn, Oct 24, 2012.

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  1. Nevyn

    Nevyn VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    Hello, and welcome to my trip report.

    This report is going to be a long one, so I thought I would experiment a bit with the format. I have broken it up into separate posts, with links to each section below. If you'd like to read the whole thing, go nuts. But if you want to skip things like background and travel details, hopefully this will help. And if you just want the gambling stories, you can find blackjack linked with *** marking them, and poker links marked with ###.

    There are also a bunch of links in there to various reviews I've already had up of things I saw, did, and ate on the trip. I hope you enjoy the report.

    Links:

    Background
    Night one: South Point
    Night one Blackjack session ***
    Day two: Football calamity, Blackjack apocalypse, and then some entertainment
    Day two blackjack session ***
    Day two continued
    Day three: VMB drinks, Blackjack, and Poker
    Day three Blackjack session ***
    Day three Poker session ###
    Day three continued
    Day four: Ze Grand Canyon
    Day five: The Britney Spears dress
    Day five Blackjack session one ***
    Day five continued
    Day five Blackjack session two ***
    Day five Poker session ###
    Day six: Downtown ***
    Day 7: Trip home and wrap-up
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
  2. Nevyn

    Nevyn VIP Whale

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    Background

    Planning for this solo trip began back in the spring. I hadn’t been to Vegas since the fall of 2010, and I was starting to get the itch to go again. I knew I was not going to want to go during peak temperatures, but that I still wanted reliably awesome pool weather. Based on that, I naturally gravitated towards the week of my birthday (September 24th).

    This wasn’t specifically planned as a solo trip, but more as a case where I knew when I wanted to go, and that I was going, solo or not, so I’d go ahead and book, and if friends felt like coming along for part of the ride that would be fine. After previous trips had to be painstakingly negotiated timing-wise, I figured this was the best approach.

    I could write a pretty long report just on all changes I made to hotel reservations as I tweaked and planned this. But for the sake of your sanity I’ll keep it to a summary. After initially booking Flamingo for 6 nights (5 comped), I ended up switching to 1 night at South Point, and then 5 at Bally’s (comped). Then two weeks out I switched the last two nights to Caesars as they suddenly came up comped, too.

    I’m sure that sounds a little insane to some of you, going to 3 different hotels in 6 nights. The reasoning is pretty simple. First and foremost, I don’t get to Vegas frequently (once a year at most), but I like trying out and comparing different hotels. I had never even set foot at South Point, and since I don’t rent a car, that was unlikely to change unless I was staying there. Plus, I didn’t have the Saturday night comped but I got a great rate ($80) for the night at South Point.

    I added Caesars because I don’t usually get a comp for it, its a short walk from Bally’s, I also had no intention of maintaining the type of play average (hour or two of $25 BJ, and lots of poker) that got me the offers in the first place. So if I was going to kill my CET rating, it seemed a good idea to milk all I could out of it first (this includes an overnight stay at Caesars Windsor on the way home to avoid driving home tired).

    I shopped around for cheap flights out of Detroit for some time, eventually finding a great deal from Spirit. I begrudge any expense on a vegas vacation that isn’t gambling or entertainment, so I can handle the small seats and the nickle-and diming if I’m saving enough money. Round trip with baggage fees cost $260.

    I spent some time researching what I wanted to do on this trip, too. The luxury of planning this one solo was that nothing had to be negotiated, so it was a good opportunity to clear off a bunch of vegas bucket list things that my friends might not be down for on future trips.

    I knew I wanted at least one fancy steakhouse dinner (maybe more if I was winning), and chose Carnevino. At the opposite end of the spectrum, I wanted to finally try out the famous Ellis Island steak special.

    I knew I’d be spending a day downtown, as my previous excursion down there was cut short. I wanted to check out the new Mob Museum, and also have a cheap gambling day.

    I was concerned about the sensory overload I tend to get from walking through casinos around day 4, so I wanted a day AWAY from the tables. I have never seen the Grand Canyon, so I decided to do a bus tour and get away for a day.

    The rest of the trip slowly fleshed itself out … Santana @ house of blues, Absinthe. I roughed it all out in a Google spreadsheet, not so much as a set in stone itinerary, but as at least an outline to make sure I made enough time for the important highlights.

    I took a similar approach with my gambling bankroll. Normally, on a shorter trip, I’ll budget a set amount per day. Any winnings or left over bankroll from a day can be brought home or spent on other entertainment. But with this one being longer, I sort of planned it out based on where I’d be and what I’d feel like. So I was planning on some blackjack low-rolling at South Point and downtown, a little football betting, some craps downtown, and poker tourneys and cash games. Based on that, I gave each day a different gambling bankroll based on the agenda. But the general rule was the same … anything left over from a day is off the table for future gambling, but on the table for a nice meal, shopping, hookers and blow, etc.

    Since I am a bad person, and as mentioned was going to be hurting my CET rating anyway, this plan included zero planned play at CET properties, except maybe some late night poker when I wanted to be close to home base. This is partly as a way of maximizing what I’ve gotten out of CET, and also a little bit an experiment. How quickly will the rates/offers disappear? What happens in the fabled 18 months if I happen to play again at Caesars Windsor?

    It also will give me an opportunity to try out a couple new players clubs and see what they are willing to offer my level of player, as well as to low roll for a couple of days. Targets for this trip will be the ‘new‘ Tropicana, and Treasure Island.
     
  3. Nevyn

    Nevyn VIP Whale

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    Night one - South Point

    I started writing you the obligatory drive and flight story, but since it was boring the heck out of me, I couldn’t imagine any of you would be interested. So here’s the Coles Notes version: I picked an evening flight so I could keep my sleep patterns normal, I drove to Detroit early so I could get a T-Mobile pay-by-the-day SIM card for my phone, and I flew to Vegas.

    From the airport, I hopped in a cab to take me to South Point. The original plan had been to take the free shuttle, but apparently 48 hours isn’t enough notice for last pick-up on a Saturday, and they were full. Luckily, there was no long haul from the cab driver, and I got to South Point quickly and relatively cheaply.

    When I originally reserved my South Point and Bally’s rooms,. I booked rooms with two queen beds in them, in case any buddies decided at the last minute to tag along for part of the trip. I usually do this, and find its usually easy to switch this to a king (and no big deal if you can’t) on arrival. But the South Point clerk took my id, punched some keys, and then pointed me to an electronic pad to confirm my room choice, price, etc, and sign. Seemed like a lot of bother to try to change it from there, so I just go with the two queen room for the night. On the plus side, this also meant that she gave me two of the funbooks instead of one. Woohoo, extra drink ticket.

    I drop off my bags in the room, and head downstairs to get some blackjack in. I stop by a casino bar to use a drink ticket, and do some looking around the casino, and then go to find a table. This was basically a bonus night, as I knew I’d be tired from the time change, and didn’t care at all about South Point’s players club. So the budget for the night was a measly 80 bucks for some $5 blackjack.
     
  4. Nevyn

    Nevyn VIP Whale

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    Night one blackjack session

    I find a free seat at a $5 table (3:2, H17, which is all I found ANYWHERE this trip), and get into it. It was the type of game a progressive player might call “choppy”. I start out up a couple bets, but never really make much headway up or down from there. I was never down more than $10 or up more than $15. But it was a fun, conversational table, and I hung around long enough for my third Newcastle to get delivered. Shortly thereafter, I fell back to even again on the session (after tips), and decide that’s a good point to call it a night.
     
  5. Nevyn

    Nevyn VIP Whale

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    Day two - Football calamity, Blackjack apocalypse, and then some entertainment

    I awake around 8am. I can never seem to sleep in in Vegas despite the epic sleep ins I can pull at home. I don’t know it its the time change or the adrenaline of being there, or the conspiracy of pumping oxygen into the rooms, but it seems the instant I wake, no matter how little sleep I’ve had, I’m instantly alert.

    In this case, I don’t mind much, as I have some football to watch today, and I’m going to need to be on an early wake up schedule until at least Grand Canyon day, anyway.

    I get up and get changed, and head down to use my half price buffet coupon for breakfast. It was a Sunday, so the half price was 8 dollars for a “Champagne” brunch … not too shabby. I stuff myself to bursting and go through some mimosas, and then head over to the Sports Book to get my bet in on the Niners game.

    I head out to the pool to relax and get some sun and read for awhile. It actually turns out to be a pretty overcast morning, so not many people out there except for rugrats in the pool. After about an hour, I head inside and go back up to the room to change and check out. Then I head over to a casino bar to use my second drink ticket, and discover to my horror that the Niners are actually losing. To the Vikings. This isn’t good. Forget the 50 bucks I just put on the Niners, I have two Vikings fans on my pool team who will never let me live this down.

    Maybe my boys just had a bad start because I wasn’t watching, so I head to the sports book, only to find all the seats taken. So I go back to the casino bar and settle in to watch the second half. Things don’t get better, the niners lose and my day is off to a horrible start. Oh well, time to hit the strip.

    I get my bags from the bell desk, and catch a cab to Bally’s. Once again, no funny business and I’m taken straight there. I go to check in, and this time I get a normal clerk who believes in human interaction. So he confirms my reservation is for two queens, and I let him know I’d like to change it to one king if possible. He says no problem, and upgrades me to the North tower while he’s at it.

    I head upstairs and check out my room, and its pretty much what I expected. Very large for a strip room, with pretty recent furniture and decoration. But the tub is the old bath/shower special, and the safe has probably been there since they built the tower, and it doesn’t work. I don’t exactly have the crown jewels with me, and don’t want to spend my vacation waiting on maintenance anyway, so I unpack, get my bankroll for the day ($300 after the money lost on the game), and hide the rest of the trip bankroll somewhere not obvious.

    I start making my way down the strip. I have tickets to Santana in the evening, so tonight is going to be my South Strip night. I stop in at Cosmopolitan to take a brief look around, as I haven’t been to Vegas since it opened. It certainly has a cool vibe.

    Then I make my way down to MGM. With time to kill, I go on a brief hunt for the infamous Lion’s Share progressive machine. I’m not really a slot player, but at this point it kind of feels like messageboard duty to play it at least a little. I find it after a few minutes, but someone is playing on it, so I move on.

    There is construction at the corner of MGM on the strip, and within the casino, so it takes me awhile to find the appropriate way to get to the pedestrian bridge to Tropicana. I end up exiting through the MGM lobby and walking back up Tropicana to the bridge

    I walk over to Trop, and sign up for a players’ card. This is my first time in the casino since the renovation, and I actually like the decor. New casinos tend to have way more space and higher ceilings, and feel like cathedrals when compared to cramped older ones, which feel claustrophobic and dingy. The white everywhere in Tropicana may not be exciting, or match the old theme, but it makes the place feel modern and clean, which is a pretty good accomplishment for a coat of paint and new furniture.
     
  6. Nevyn

    Nevyn VIP Whale

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    I take a stroll around the pit area, and find a suitable blackjack table. It is $10 min, (3:2, H17). If there were better rules to be found in the property, they’d have to be in the high limit room, which didn’t even appear to be open. But the main appeal of the table is that there are 4 players there already, including a couple lovely young lasses, and everyone seems to be having fun. First base is open so I sit there. I buy-in for $300 in quarters, and the dealer promptly tells me that this is the fun table, and I’m only allowed to play if I’m going to have fun. Sounds fine to me.

    We start off, and things are going pretty choppy. I’m treading water, but the table is as fun as promised. Everyone is chatting and joking around, and the guy in last position is pretty wasted, but also driving the entertainment. The cocktail waitress makes her way around, and he wants the whole table to do “another” shot. Apparently I missed the first. He looks at me “you going to do a shot of Jameson with us?”. Well, I’d promised to have fun, so there was only one answer to give. I also order a beer and a water, and we got back to playing.

    Things continue that way for 45 minutes or so, and I’m slowly sliding in the wrong direction, consistently 3-4 bets down. We get a new shoe and its the shoe from hell. In a span of 10 or so hands I get dealt two doubles and a split and lose them all. Not long after, the dealer takes the last of my chips.

    Now, I set pretty hard and fast rules for myself, on daily gambling bankrolls and not chasing losses, but this is sorely tempting. Not only did I get wiped out a bit quicker than I was looking to play (dinner is next, and its still a tad early), but this table is a lot of fun. I don’t have much more cash on me, but I could scale back to 10 bucks and hang out for awhile. But rules are rules, and I don’t feel like digging a deeper hole for myself on my first full day. So I excuse myself and wish the other players continued good times.
     
  7. Max2589

    Max2589 Low-Roller

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    I bet you still get plenty of offer from CET. Its a factory and they know they
    will get theirs eventually.
     
  8. Nevyn

    Nevyn VIP Whale

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    I head back over to MGM via the bridge, killing time before dinner, to figure out how the heck to get from the MGM casino to the bridge, and check on the Lion’s Share again. It is again in use, and I head back over to Tropicana to have dinner at Bacio. I have a full review of Bacio here. Suffice it to say it was a great meal, and the first thing in this day to go right (even my fantasy football teams were losing!).

    After dinner, I make my way to Mandalay Bay for the Santana concert. The ticket says doors open at seven and I get there shortly thereafter. The show itself doesn’t begin until 8, but its a heck of a show when it does. I put up a full review here, but suffice it to say I had a great time.

    After the show, I make my way back to MGM one last time to check on the Lion’s Share. It is now free, so I make a quick $21 donation to the cause. I get about 12 max play spins out of it, and never see a single Lion. Ah well.

    From there I make my way back to Bally’s. It is getting close to midnight, my gambling budget for the day is blown, and I am still on Grand Canyon tour hours. So I head back up to the room, watch a rundown of the day’s games, and then call it a night. I notice that from my room I can actually hear the water blasts from the Bellagio fountains, which is a bit of a surprise, but not loud enough to keep me up.
     
  9. Nevyn

    Nevyn VIP Whale

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    Day three - VMB drinks, Blackjack, and Poker

    Once again I wake up around 8 o’clock. Today I’m planning to play a little poker and blackjack, try out the famous Ellis Island steak special for dinner, and then meet up with a few board members at Margaritaville for drinks. Today’s gambling budget is $500.

    But item one on the agenda is breakfast, and scratching yet another thing off the old Vegas bucket list. It seems that one of the boards favourite breakfast stops is Hash House a Go-Go, and I’ve never been, so I’m determined to try it out.

    I make my way over to the Imperial Palace, and head up the escalators, and there are people waiting around everywhere. I’m thinking “am I really going to have to wait an hour for breakfast?”, and thinking over how determined I really am to give this place a shot, when I hear the host saying “anyone who wants to eat at the bar, it is first come first served”.

    I think that went well.

    I walk right in and take my place at the bar. I order the Smoked Salmon Hash. It was pretty decent, and the portions were huge, though not entirely what I was expecting. I think I would definitely eat there again, but I’d definitely try something else as what I got does not jive with the glowing recommendations I’ve heard for the place.

    From there I make my way over to Treasure Island. They have in the past been one of my favourite poker rooms, and I’m thinking of playing their 11am Poker Tournament. I sign up for a player’s card, as I have not been back since the sale from MGM, and among the many useless promotions the player rep explains to me for 10 minutes, my card is loaded with $5 of free play, and I can swipe it at a kiosk for an addition $10-$100 in free play. I swipe it and get the $10.

    I’m not usually a machine player, so have no real idea what I’m looking for. I decide to run the free play through a 25c video poker machine. It is one of those ones where you can choose from multiple poker games, but I have no idea how good the pay tables were. I chose Jacks or Better for the game, and started going through the free play, max playing each spin. I hit some small hands (I think 3 of a kind was the best), and when I’ve finished with the free play, have just over $25 in balance. Time to cash out and run.

    I get to the Poker Room shortly before 11 to discover that they have zero cash games going yet, and only one name signed up for the tournament. If it fires at all it will basically be a one table sit and go. That doesn’t sound like much fun, so I decide to play some blackjack for awhile, and then go in search of a more active room for a cash game.
     
  10. Nevyn

    Nevyn VIP Whale

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    I sit down at a table ($10 min, 3:2, H17) with a couple asian guys (a father and either son or son-in-law, from what I could gather). The dealer looks at me and says “don’t sit down here, I’m gonna take all your money”, but I don’t buy it, and this is the only table where I won’t be playing alone anyway. He starts off true to his word, getting there with a couple bust cards, but then things start to balance out. He’s a fun and chatty dealer, so I’m having a good time, and floating mostly around even so its nice and low stress. Its still pretty early so the drink of choice is coffee and baileys …. well, more baileys with a dash of coffee in this case.

    About an hour in, the others at the table get up to move on, and a new, faster, more boring dealer settles in, so I know I’m going to wrap up my session soon. I play out the shoe and close out up $25. Combined with the VP free play I’m now up $50 on the day, which feels great after yesterday’s blowout.
     
  11. Nevyn

    Nevyn VIP Whale

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    I head next door to the Mirage to see what their poker room looks like. They are running one table each at 1-2 NL, and 3-6 limit, with decent waiting lists for both, but I can tell they are about to open a second 1-2 table, so I sign up, and within 15 minutes, the new table is up and running.

    I buy in with $300, and start off pretty card dead. I see some flops, but catch little, and my stack erodes down to about $220. I make some small scores with continuation bets, and then end up in a hand with a short stack. I raise pre-flop with QQ and get one caller, and flop comes Q-x-x with no scary draws out there. He bets right into me, and I raise it right back. He pushes and I call and take it down over his pocket jacks. This puts me up for the session

    Later on, I miss another shot at a big pot when I again have trips in a 3 player pot. One person has been pushing pretty hard, and I think he has an overpair, but I have no read on the other one. And by the river there are four to a straight and three to a flush on the board, and there is a big bet and call ahead of me. I let it go, and the overpair ends up beating just top pair with a bad kicker. Sigh.

    By this time, I’m hovering around even again, and its getting to be time for dinner, so I play up to my next blind, then cash out with about $303. Woohoo, profit.
     
  12. Nevyn

    Nevyn VIP Whale

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    I make my way from Mirage to Ellis Island to try out their off menu steak special (review here), and then head back to my room to clean up, put away the bankroll, and get ready to go drink. l had previously arranged to meet up with Travelfiend, Ant1433, and john_merriman at Margaritaville at 7.

    I make my way over, only to find that Margaritaville is completely booked for a private party for the next two nights. Some quick smartphone checking on the board later, and we agree to meet up at the 5 O’clock Somewhere casino bar inside the Margaritaville casino. Took awhile for us to find each other in there, but soon myself, Travelfiend, and And1433 meet up. john_merriman never made it, as I guess he got in late and had no mobile means to check the board.

    We have a good time, chatting about Vegas in general and other travel, swapping stories and talking about our trips. It was kind of like a messageboard conversation, except live and with beer! We also get to see the historically bad ending to the Green Bay-Seattle Monday night football game. After about 4 rounds we exchange contact information in case there’s another opportunity to get together, and I make my excuses, as I have an early wake-up tomorrow for my Grand Canyon bus tour.

    I head back over to Bally’s and crash for the night.
     
  13. Nevyn

    Nevyn VIP Whale

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    Day 4: Ze Grand Canyon

    A full review of my bus tour can be found here.

    The next morning I am up at 6, as I need to be outside the hotel for my tour pick-up at 6:55. I get showered and ready, and then head over to Paris to catch a quick breakfast, as I’d heard how small the “morning snack” included in the tours can be.

    I stop at JJ’s Boulangerie as it seems a good spot for a quick meal on the go. I order a bacon and egg croissant, and pick up a coffee. The croissant was huge, and had 4 or 5 strips of bacon and what had to be at least 2 eggs within it. I cram it down and head over to the Bally’s entrance for the tour pickup.

    There is a little confusion when I first get out there, as there are 2-3 buses loading people, and I have no idea whether they are mine. But around 2-3 minutes early a bus marked Grand Canyon Tours pulls up, and the driver steps out with a checklist, and I’m on it. I get in and the driver goes to round up the rest of his list.

    While I’m waiting on the bus, a young guy with a German accent peaks in, and starts showing the e-ticket on his cellphone and asking if he has the right bus. I tell him that that looks like the same e-ticket I have, but the driver is rounding people up and should have his name on the checklist. He goes off to find the driver, and comes back on a short time later. Apparently he has the right bus.

    Once we have everyone rounded up, the driver takes us to an underground parking area at PH, where the tour company takes over a small lobby. They herded us inside, lined us up to pay, gave us stickers for the bus we were on, and pointed us to the snack station.

    I grab a granola bar for later, as I’m still pretty full from breakfast, and find my bus. The driver originally has me sitting next to another ‘single’, who is also a burly fellow, and I’m starting to think that this could be a cramped drive. But as luck would have it, they have 3 or 4 dropouts, so I am able to move to an empty row, and each of the single passengers has a row to themselves. The german guy, 'Paul' is in the row ahead of me.

    We get to chatting on the way up. He just finished university, and is doing a long american vacation before settling into the working world. He has already been to Houston and Miami, and will be visiting California before heading home.

    We get to the Grand Canyon, and start doing the 2.4 mile hike along the South Rim. The weather is absolutely perfect, high 70s or low 80s with few clouds.

    The view is breathtaking and we are frequently stopping to take pictures. This gets somewhat comical as the three guys who came alone are walking it together and 'Paul' guy loves taking and posing for pictures, so he is having us take dozens of pictures of him posing. I start getting concerned that we are being so photo-happy we could be late getting back, in part because its tough to know how far you have left to go, but we end up making it with a little time to spare.

    Aside: taking pictures at the Grand Canyon can be borderline frustrating. The view is so breathtaking, and there are so many different views, and they just don’t translate well. You can get nice wide shots with the horizon in the frame, but try to get a more specific shot, and all sense of direction and scale go away.

    The ride back to Vegas is pretty uneventful. 'Paul' asks me about how I like to gamble and games I like to play. He likes to play slots mainly, and a bit of roulette. Blackjack is a total mystery to him. He really wants to see me play blackjack for some reason. I tell him I won’t be playing tonight, but might do some playing the next day. We exchange emails, as he plans to send along some of his pictures.

    The driver drops us off at our respective hotels, and I’m pretty worn out. I head back up to my room, watch TV for awhile, and get some sleep.
     
  14. Nevyn

    Nevyn VIP Whale

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    Day 5: The Britney Spears dress

    The next morning I wake up around 8ish. This is another $500 budget day (the last full budget
    day for the trip), and it’s gonna be a full day. Aside from BJ and poker, I’m planning to see Absinthe and eat at Carnevino.

    I make my way down to the Paris breakfast buffet. I’ve managed to beat the crowds and am seated almost immediately. I love buffets for breakfast/brunch much more than any other meal, and the Paris buffet is awesome for it. Real bagels (and a toaster!) for your smoked salmon. A made to order station with both sweet and savoury crepes. Great stuff, as usual. I take my time and stuff myself to the gills, and pay with reward credits (thanks, Escape to TR contest!).

    Then its back to Bally’s to check out. I had been thinking about hanging out at the pool for awhile, but the one downside of my multi-hotel tour is that I need to be checked out by a certain time, and I don’t really like the idea of leaving things at the bell desk while I go to the pool, as I generally don’t like to bring wallet, passport, etc to the pool, and usually change in my room.

    I walk over to Caesars with my bag. I talk to the girl at the check-in desk, but apparently Caesars is one of those properties now trying to extract early check-in fees. She tells me that check-in isn’t until 3 if I want to avoid the fee. I leave my bag at their bell desk for now, and get on with my day.

    I head down to the Fashion Show Mall, planning to get Absinthe tickets from the Tix4Tonite booth there. There is a line, unfortunately, and I guess the mall didn’t like them doing lines inside the mall, so the line is all outdoors, and its pretty hot out. There are 1-2 attendants with tablets going through the line and pre-screening people, letting them know what shows are available and if any tickets are left. This is an interesting system, probably designed to prevent the anger of waiting in a line only to find you can’t get your tickets. But I am led to wonder how much quicker the line would be anyway if those people were extra cashiers instead, including the girl whose job it is to point a person to an open till.

    Anyway, the tablet girl checks with me, and confirms there is one show of Absinthe for the night, and they have only one ticket left. So now, its gamble time. Will that ticket still be there when I get to the front of the line? I risk it, and naturally the last ticket is sold when I’m the next person in line. D’OH! Guess I’ll have to get my tickets from Caesars’ box office.
     
  15. Nevyn

    Nevyn VIP Whale

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    I make my way back to Treasure Island, and decide to stop in and play some more blackjack. I buy-in at a $10 table (at this point, the table is empty), and start playing at $25/hand. Normally I don’t like to play alone, but I have some time to kill, get a good vibe from the TI tables, and these are not turbo-dealers so you don’t need a full table to avoid playing fast forward.

    I start off pretty good, and in the first couple of shoes I’m up about 4-5 bets. I drink a Coffee and Baileys to finish off the morning, and then decided to switch to beer.

    Around this time, a pretty young lady walks up to the table, and sits down with …... TEN DOLLARS. She is early 20s, so she gets carded and shows her Canadian passport, so I know I’ll play playing with a fellow canuck for at least the next hand.

    If it weren’t already clear from her buy-in, it is pretty obvious by her decisions that she is not exactly a blackjack expert. She wins a couple early hands, and then has a streak where she is hitting against bust cards, standing against the occasional 10, and not doubling or splitting a thing. At one point she hits a 17 and gets a 2. But she is winning well more than she is losing.

    As the conversation progresses, she is explaining to the dealer and me that she is trying to make about $150 to have enough money to buy this dress she really likes. A pink dress, apparently. She refers to it as ‘the Britney Spears dress’, although I have no idea what qualities make it that. I gather she spend most of the rest of her money on other shopping and/or partying, so now she has to make 150 out of 10. I’m finding it very amusing that her plan to make $150 out of $10 was to sit at a $10 blackjack table. Even more so since she clearly doesn’t know the game that well. And yet more so since its starting to look like she just might get there.

    Sadly, while her bad decisions are all coming up roses for her, in that first shoe I’m just getting crushed. I’m now down about $100 for the session, when I started the shoe up that much.Now I know for a bunch of players this can be incredibly frustrating, and they’ll complain, or try to coach the person, or get up and leave the table. Myself, I’m past that stage. Her choices don’t affect my chances except in hindsight, and this whole show is free entertainment. And I don’t coach others unless they are seeking advice on what to do.

    I decide to stick around for another shoe or two, and it proves to be a wise choice. Suddenly the breaks are going in both my favour and hers. We have a couple more drinks, and some laughs, and the dealer notices that she seems to have reached her goal. He points it out to her, saying “weren’t you trying to get to $150? you’re over that aren’t you”, and she says she’s going to leave as soon as she loses 2 in a row.

    A few hands later, I find myself up $180 at the shuffle, get my beer delivered, and want to head back to Caesars to get my show tickets, and try to get checked-in in time for some pool time before dinner. I say my goodbyes, wish her luck, and move on. Now I’m kinda wishing I’d stayed just to see where her magical run ended. Did she stay disciplined and keep enough for the Britney Spears dress? Did she win enough more for some Christina Aguilera shoes to accompany it? Guess I’ll never know.
     
  16. Nevyn

    Nevyn VIP Whale

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    I make my way back to Caesars, and it is still just after two, so I go to buy my Absinthe ticket before braving the check-in desk again. There is a short line, and the lady at the counter seems somewhat tired and frazzled, making the whole transaction take longer than it needs to. At first it sounds like she’s telling me that she can’t sell Absinthe tickets. But I think it was just that most ticket blocks were gone, as once she figures out I’m a single we start making progress. She asks if I have any discount coupons and this is around where I should have clued in that maybe I should check-in first. I say no, and she charges me full rate. We then have a comedy of errors where I go to pay her with bills as I don’t want to keep people waiting while I sort for exact change, she discovers she doesn’t have change, and goes to fetch some, as she takes forever I find the change, and then she miscounts it twice before we get things sorted out.

    It is almost 3 and the lobby isn’t at all busy, so I decide to try my luck at check-in a little early. And am promptly told that there is a fee if I check in before 4 (and I think the quoted fee was different too). I point out that I was told it was 3, and she makes a clarification that makes no sense. Well, I would have been fine killing 10 minutes if they wanted to be anal about early check-in, but I’m sure not waiting an hour. I want to get in some pool time before dinner, and I’m planning to eat at Carnevino before the show, so I’d rather get checked in now.

    I cave and agree to pay the fee while giving the clerk my best “you work for a nickel and dime casino that likes to pretend its a classy one” face. She processes my check-in with her best “yeah, I know” face. I figure my remaining TR credits will cover most of it anyway, and I don’t have any more CET meals planned.

    I get to my room and send for my bags, which are delivered pretty promptly. The room is pretty spacious, with fun little features like electronic blinds openers near the bed. The forum tower rooms have no tub, but do have epic standing showers with your choice of rainshower or normal. I also notice that amid the flyers and junk they give with your keys is a $20 off coupon to see Absinthe. D’oh! Guess I punted that one.

    I unpack and get changed to go to the pool. Luckily I was wise enough to ask the bellhop for directions as I know Caesars can be somewhat maze-like. His directions are good, and I spend a nice relaxing hour reading in the sun, taking an occasional dip to cool off, and enjoying the scenery while trying my best not to stare at the scenery.

    After that I head back up to my room to shower and change, and then I’m off to Palazzo to find Carnevino, the steakhouse I had decided to treat myself to this trip. You can find a review for it here. It was a very good meal, which I would have enjoyed all the more if I hadn’t built myself up to expect a GREAT meal, since I love steaks, love italian food, and think Mario Batalli is the man.

    After supper, I notice I’ve gotten a text from ‘Paul’ from yesterday’s canyon tour. He wants to know if I’m going to be playing some blackjack tonight. Well, I hadn’t really planned on it, as I kinda wanted to bank my win for the day, but I figure some lower limit play could be a fun time killer later on. So I let him know I’m seeing a show first, and will text him later to maybe meet up at Mirage and play a little.

    I head back to Caesars to watch Absinthe (review http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?t=84100&highlight=absinthe). It was a pretty fun time, and while I knew generally what to expect, even I was a little surprised at how graphic the language got.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
  17. Nevyn

    Nevyn VIP Whale

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    Once the show finished, I texted ‘Paul’ and let him know I’d meet him at the mirage BJ pit next to the poker room. I head over there and settle in at a $10 table, buying in with my up money from earlier in the day.

    The first shoe goes badly and by the time Paul finds me I’m down 50 bucks. The table only has a couple other players, so Paul sits down to watch, and I’m explaining to him as I play. You can tell he isn’t really getting it, but he learns a little at least. I continue bleeding chips for a bit, then make a small rally to close a shoe down $70. All in all I probably only played 45 minutes or so, but Paul had fun. From there I want to try some poker, so I so goodbye to Paul and wish him luck in California, and then head over to the Poker Room.
     
  18. Nevyn

    Nevyn VIP Whale

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    I get there just as they are opening another 1-2 NL table, so I get seated almost right away. The table is pretty loose, and the player to my left is constantly whining about how bad he’s been running, without much noticing how bad he’s been playing.

    I wish I could give you some more details on this session, especially since it was pretty successful, but my actual wins have faded into my memory. I think at some point I won a big hand with a boat, and on another won a big blind special when I flopped two pair.

    But for the most part, I built my stack by being conservative and playing position pre-flop, and aggressively continuing once I was in a hand. I took some medium pots with double continuation bets, and another with a check raise bluff on an aggressive player. Wish I could give you more details, but few of the actual showdowns were memorable.

    But after a couple of hours of play, I had turned a $300 buy-in into $500, so that was good enough for me. I headed back to Caesars and turned in for the night at about 1:30am.
     
  19. Nevyn

    Nevyn VIP Whale

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    Day 6: Downtown

    This morning I managed to sleep in a little. This was planned to be my Downtown day, with a $250 gambling budget. The original plan was to try to get downtown first thing, and try the MSS breakfast buffet. But as I thought about it, I knew I’d be wanting to stay downtown until the FSE got kicking in the evening, and I wanted some more pool time today. I also wanted to do a little shopping and treat myself with some of the last days’ leftover bankroll.

    So I audibled, and after getting up around 10 the new plan was put to work. I did some quick smartphone research, and then made my way down to the Fashion Show Mall. I looked around for a bit, and then went to Nordstroms, as they apparently carry Mephisto footwear. My father has been fully on the Mephisto bandwagon for a few years now and explaining to me the wonders of them, as he walks about in them all day (with his socks on of course).

    When he first started mentioning them (and offered to get me a pair), I wasn’t really much of a sandals guy anyway, so I thought it would be a waste. But in the years since, I’ve slowly become more of one, and the cheapo ones I tend to use aren’t suitable for much more than going back and forth to the pool. So I decide to treat myself, and get a pair of them. I don’t want to break them in on this trip, but next time I’m in Vegas, maybe I’ll finally have sandals comfortable enough for walking the strip.

    After that I stop off at Chipotle for an early lunch. Chipotle had been on my to-do list for the week, too, but had kind of been passed over until now. Last I checked, there is only one of these in all of Canada, so after being introduced to it on a trip to Florida, I wanted to give it another go.

    After that I went back to Caesars, and changed to head down to the pool for an hour or so of relaxation. Then its back up to change, and across the street to catch The Deuce downtown. The bus ride takes awhile but is mostly uneventful. But in front of Wynn we pick up a trio of people in fatigues with backpacks and canteens. And dogs. They get on the bus and start paying the fare in small change. And temporarily jam the mechanism annoying the driver to no end. But once they are aboard they really don’t cause any problems, and awhile later we are downtown.

    The main impetus for this trip downtown for me is to check out the new Mob Museum, so I head over there first. You can find a review for it here. Short version is I had a good time and its full of interesting stuff, but I think the presentation and coordination could be smoother.

    By the time I finish up at the mob museum it is about 4:30, and I’m planning to have dinner at the 777 brewpub, so I head to MSS to gamble a little first.



    I find a single deck BJ game with 3:2, although it is H17. I take a seat, buy in with $100 and order a homebrew, and get to playing. The session is positively brutal. I lose 4-5 hands in a row off the top, start to rally, and then take another drop. Now I’m sitting at 50-60 dollars.

    I get my second drink and the game stabilizes for a while. Around this time someone is having some sort of awesome bonus round on the machines behind us and a crowd is gathering. Not sure how much the person won, but it had to be a couple grand. That luck, sadly, is not spreading to our table, as I can’t seem to get back up over $65.

    Around the time my third homebrew arrives, I hit my second brutal stretch of the trip so far, losing on a number of splits and doubles back to back. A few minutes later I’m felted. Thank goodness this run was on a low-rolling day. I get up, and head to the brewpub to get something to eat.

    The brewpub is pretty busy as it is happy hour, but I manage to find a barstool to call my own. I order up a pint, and start looking through the appetizers that are part of the happy hour deal. I settle on a balanced meal of chicken wings and garlic bread. I end up in competing conversations with the patrons to either side of me.

    The drunk guy on my wants to talk about football, differences in Canadian football rules, etc, but is also chatting with another Canadian, and anyone else that walks within range. The drunk guy on my right (appropriately) hears that I’m from Canada, so wants to talk about the evils of socialized medicine, how much he hates Obama for making America a muslim country, etc etc. I try my best to stick with the football conversation.

    After dinner and a couple drinks it is time to head back over to the Canopy to check out the FSE and take a look through the various casinos. There are a couple cover bands playing at various spots, and I wander in and out of most of the casinos. My only other trip downtown, I saw little other than the FSE and the 4 Queens, so this time I want to take a good look around. I check out the dealing talent at the Golden Gate, wander in and out of the other casinos, and make my way all the way down to the ElCo.
    I had heard about the ElCo having $3 craps, and this seemed ideal to me. Craps seems like a game that is a lot of fun, but its one I’ve only ever tried a little, and it also seems to me to run streakier than blackjack due to the odds bets. So I’m constantly caught not wanting to dedicate a day’s bankroll to playing craps, but not feeling like I can play right for any extended period with what little I’m willing to put out there. A cheap craps game seems the perfect solution, and coupled with a day where I’m low-rolling at BJ I figure I’ll have tons of budget.

    Sadly, the ElCo did not appeal to me once I was inside. Almost every patron in there looked like they were 10 minutes away from ending it all. I can handle the more worn and low rent atmosphere of off-strip and downtown places in general, but it still has to look like a place where people have fun. There is ONE craps table going, it is $3 as promised, but it is crowded, crowded with people in a bad mood, and crowded with people who don’t look like they’d welcome a rookie shooter. I’m not liking the vibe, so I nix the $3 craps plan.

    I head back up to the D, and take a look through it. It has the go-go dancing dealers, just as Golden Gate does, and this shift seems somewhat better looking than the GG ones. So I head over to the $5 craps table to give it a whirl. I get passed the dice almost immediately, and of course set a point and 7 right out. D’oh. The next person does the same, before someone finally hits a point on a 10. I’m just keeping it simple playing double odds behind. On my next roll I set a point, then manage to throw one of the die right off the table. I hit some place bets for the others, but seven out without making my point. I’m quickly down $50 and not feeling like this is my game today.

    So I work my way around to a blackjack table, and buy in with the remaining hundred. It is 3:2, H17, and running a CSM. And I finally hit a good session. I promptly make back all the money I lost on craps, and start to work on the earlier blackjack losses. I have 2-3 more drinks, and the winnings start to stall out. I play for awhile stuck in a loop between up 60 and up 80, and finally hit one more run, get up to $200, and decide to wrap it up there.

    I head back outside and catch another FSE show (this one is a Bon Jovi song), and watch the bands play for awhile. Then I decide to pack it in, and head back to the strip. I get on a packed SDX and take it back to the hotel (more or less ... drop off in front of Cosmo), then its up to bed and the end of the party.
     
  20. Nevyn

    Nevyn VIP Whale

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    Day 7: Trip home and wrapup

    The next morning I get up around 8:40, get showered, changed, and packed up, and head down to catch a cab to the airport. I was hoping my terminal would have some good breakfast options, but end up settling for a Burger King to go breakfast, as I lost the terminal restaurant lottery.

    The flight back is pretty uneventful, and I am back in Detroit around 6pm EST. I stop in at Duty Free for the mandatory case of cheap beer, and then head over to Caesar’s Windsor. One more free night from CET before my drive home. I settle in, and print off my $15 direct bet offer. I walk it over to a $15 BJ table, and play just the direct bet. I win, let it ride, and then walk with $30 in chips. There is also an offer for a $10 gift card to some store in the promenade ballroom. I go to collect that, but they are out, so they give me a $10 receipt for the casino cages instead. Even better. I head to the cage, and collect $40 total. Enough to cover a buffet dinner with a little left over.

    After dinner, I crash, and after a sleep in the next day, I check out and make the 2 hour drive home.

    Part 10: Trip wrap-up

    So the grand gaming totals for this report:

    Day 1: even
    Day 2: down $350
    Day 3: up $50
    Day 4: didn’t play
    Day 5: up $310
    Day 6: down $50

    For the trip: down about $40. Not too shabby.

    I hope you enjoyed the report. I certainly enjoyed the trip.
     
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