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TR - Encore TS - May 22 to 28, 2012 - Mainly Gambling...

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by avarice13, Jun 2, 2012.

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  1. avarice13

    avarice13 Tourist

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2012
    Messages:
    15
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    15

    My Trip Report

    Tuesday

    I arrived into Las Vegas on British Airways (wow, what a crappy airline, even in Club World, never again); got sent to CPB secondary but exactly an hour later, they handed me my passport, said sorry for keeping me as they were unsure of why I was even sent for secondary inspection. Anyways, at around 8pm, I finally got my bags and made it out of the terminal.

    I see a driver holding a placard with my name on it and, as we go outside, I see a Rolls Royce Phantom; I asked if it was WYNN 5, as per my request (yes, I am superstitious; aren’t we all?), and he said they sent WYNN 7 because WYNN 5 was involved in some accident and was in the workshop for repairs for the next few weeks.

    I made a quick stop at CVS along the way to pick up some snacks, mixers and cough medication (terribly sick after 25+ hours of flying). Arrived at the Encore Tower Suites, was being escorted to the room to check-in but I asked if the 2BR suite was ready and this caught the check-in clerk off guard; I guess my host forgot to let them know.

    Anyways, a whole thirty minutes later, we have the situation resolved (apparently) and I ask what floor we are going to; she say 57 (or something high like that). I mention that I had requested a low floor so she changed it to the 16th floor and we were all set to go. We get to the room and it is dirty; I drop my bags in the clean interconnecting room and off I go to the casino.

    I get to the cage and sign for my marker for $80,000; with my $20,000 line, I have $100,000 worth of ammunition for the trip. I made my way to the Encore high limit room, did a quick scan of the baccarat and blackjack tables and finally decided to sit down at an empty baccarat table with a $300 minimum bet. I took out a $5,000 marker, bet $500 on player, $50 on each pair and $125 on tie (with $25 on tie for the boys); first hand was a 0-0 tie, for a $900 win (and $200 for the boys). I started raising my bets, hit a few more tie bets and had decent player and banker runs, but no pairs to be found. 40 hands later, I was up $13,100 so I bought back my marker and went upstairs to take a quick shower before dinner with a friend from Toronto.

    We had some pizza, a nice bottle of red wine and some decent gelato at Stratta. Not sure of what to do next, we did was only seemed natural; we called a limo to take us to the Rhino. By the time we got back from the Rhino, it was almost 5am and we both wanted to play some cards so we bought in at a pai gow poker table at Encore, played for a few hours and made $6,000 playing two hands at $500 each with $50/100 fortune bonus bets. I seemed to be hitting the fortune bonus bets quite a bit, almost every other hand, but there is a $100 maximum on the bet.

    We decide to call it a night/day at 7am.

    Wednesday

    I woke up at 10am, with three hours of sleep, took a quick shower and went down to the Hertz car rental counter to pick up a car I had booked. Before heading out, we grabbed a very light meal at Wazuzu, including some sushi and wok-fried beef. First stop was the UPS Store, followed by Walmart and then finally the outlets at Primm, which took around 35 minutes each way. Decent prices at Neiman Marcus Last Call but not much else. Since lunch was pretty early and quite light, we had a couple of gyros at the Mad Greek Café next to the outlets.

    After the outlets, we drove to the MGM at around 6pm to pick up UFC tickets, meet my host, sign for my front money, check out the Skylofts and gamble at the Mansion casino. I also had to pick up my friend from the airport at 720pm so there wasn’t time to finish everything; fortunately, my host proposed to send a car to pick up my friend, even with only 10 minutes till he was supposed to land, so I could gamble (of course, how nice of him, LOL).

    Anyways, it all worked out well; played some baccarat and made $2,200 at the Mansion casino and got a comp to try Shibuya. Shibuya was pretty solid; I don’t eat sushi but my Asian friends tried the tasting menu with the seven sake flight while I had some basic shrimp ebi sushi and Wagyu tenderloin (both were quite good). We were a bit light on the comp usage so the waiter recommended two bottles of sake for us to take back with us (you can’t argue with that logic, LOL).

    On a side note, maybe it’s just me but I just didn’t enjoy the gambling experience at the Mansion casino; it seemed like any ordinary gambling experience on the casino floor at the Wynn or Encore. The chips were old and dirty (one thing I noticed Wynn/Encore does a pretty good job of maintaining) and the environment just seemed a bit too ‘less-than-fun’ for me.

    After dinner, we got a tour of the Skylofts, which were very nice but I am still torn between the Skylofts at MGM and a converted 2BR Salon Suite at the Encore. After the tour, I went to the main cage to cash in my chips but I was told I could only do that at the Mansion casino cage; I had already requested the valet to bring the car around so I decided to keep the chips, as I would be returning after the UFC fight.

    After driving back to the Encore Tower Suites at around 11pm, we decided to gamble a bit and then head to the Rhino for a few hours. We got back at around 5:30am and decided to play some more pai gow poker. I bought in for $10,000, playing two hands of $1,000 each, with $100 fortune bonus. I got away from some pretty poor hands, with my pai gows beating dealer pai gows.

    I took a break to go to the washroom and on the way back, I stopped by a $5 slot machine (I never play slots, EVER). I put in $120 into the machine, playing $10 ($5 x 2 coins) per spin and within 10 spins, the machine locked up; I hit for 960 coins > $4,800. As I am not American, 30% was deducted and the paperwork took a solid 25-30 minutes to fill out.

    Back to the PGP table, things were up and down but on one round, I had a full house on one hand and quads on the other for decent fortune bonus payouts. At around 9am, I decided to go back to the room to wake my friends up for breakfast and/or gambling. I closed out the session up $11,000, bringing the trip balance to +$37,100 including the slot win.

    Thursday

    Back in the room, I decided it was time to wake my friends up for breakfast (and also, if I didn’t sleep, they weren’t allowed to either, LOL); one friend told me to F-off while the other decided he wanted breakfast. Not really in the mood for Society Café, we walked to Denny’s so that I could order something from their lunch menu (I just don’t like breakfast). After breakfast, we walked to CVS to pick up some more mixers and snacks for the room. When we got to the room, the straggler was just waking up; we agreed to chill by the pool for a bit, smoking cigars and having a few drinks.

    I got bored of the pool scene very quickly and left them to go gamble, off to the Wynn high limit area. I bought in for $20,000 at an empty table and started off with some pretty good cards, eking out a few 7s over 6s and 9s over 8s (love the dings). I had won 6 of the first 10 hands and started to get a good feel for the shoe. My $1,000 bets soon turned into $3,000-$5,000 bets and things started getting interesting.

    My favourite situation played out twice, where the dealer opened player for 6 and I had paint and a three-sider, on both occasions; with a 67% chance to win the hand and 33% to tie, I tied both. With $10,000 on the bank and $500 on the tie, I figure I should have at least won one of those bank bets but hey, $4,000 twice is definitely not disappointing and it sure beats a loss!

    Over the 39 hands of the shoe that I played, there were a total of 17 pairs (11 player and 6 banker) and 5 ties. I paid off my marker and left the table, quite satisfied with my $60,000 win, bringing my trip total to +$97,100.

    I went to the Wynn VIP lounge and met up with my friends, finishing off two bottles of champagne (mind you, some of the bubbly went into the mimosas we took away in plastic cups). We decided to play some PGP so we walked back to the Encore but they only had one table opened and it was partially occupied by one guy who was sitting beside a girl who was trying to learn the game for the past 30 minutes but without any success; the concept of setting the two-card hand lower than the five-card hand was just lost on her. I also think her inebriated state did not help things. I asked if they could open up a table for us and they gladly did so but said it would take 20-25 minutes; we were in no rush so we went to the VIP lounge at the Encore for some more drinks.

    Once the table was open, we sat down and I got a marker for $10,000, playing two hands at $1,000 each with $100 fortune bonus bets. On the first hand, the dealer had 4 aces and I started wondering what I got us into. The next two rounds were pushes on both hands. On the fourth round, I got 4 aces on one hand and pai gow on the other. A few rounds after that, I got pai gow on one hand and a straight flush on the other, with a $100 fortune bonus bet for myself and $5 for the dealers at 50 to 1. I played for another 90 minutes without any significant to report, winning a few hands I expected to lose/push and losing a few hands I thought were strong.

    About two hours in my play, the supervisor tells me that I cannot bet $100 + $5 on the fortune bonus bet because there is a $100 maximum. I tell her that is fine but I ask her where her guidance was on that for the past few days I was playing; she was present at the table all of the days I was playing and she clearly saw my bets. I most always frequently bet for the dealers on the side bets (pairs, ties, fortune bonus, queens up, etc) and she had no problem paying out $250 to the dealers even though I was apparently above the maximum.

    I stopped playing until she went on break and then resumed betting $100 + $5 without any issues (by the way, this was never an issue for any other supervisor over the course of the trip). I had at least three arguments with her over the course of the trip; I understand that, in pai gow poker, you have to be properly seated in order to keep your cards on the playing surface (in fact, I understand game protection and often remind other players of the rules) but she kept ‘reminding’ me that I should keep both feet on the floor while playing blackjack (6-deck shoe, no pitch). I have seen other players standing while getting cards dealt to them at blackjack, let alone having to keep BOTH feet on the floor. The dealers appeared to be getting annoyed by her as well.

    I left PGP and locked in an $8,000 win, bringing my trip total to +$105,100. I was pretty exhausted so I decided to grab a quick bite at Society Café and call it an early night.

    Friday

    I spent much of the day gambling (LOL, as one should do in Las Vegas). I have not had a good run at craps in the past twelve months and have essentially given up on the game. But I stepped up to an empty $10 table, bought in for $100 and took consensus from the dealers if I should roll the right side or the dark. I chose the former, threw $18 ($5+$1 x 3) on the all-tall-small bets and started rolling. I immediately hit the all small and made two points; I continued to roll for around 15 minutes, hitting 5 points and many numbers. As soon as I seven’d out, I decided to walk (with $537 in chips), thinking about how much I would have made if I was betting black chips like I usually do. I still haven’t found my love for the game again and I’m not sure if/when I will.

    Back to the Encore high limit room, I took a marker out for $20,000 at a baccarat table, sitting down with 2-3 other players. I lost 5 of 5 hands and was down $12,000 right away. I took the remaining $8,000 to a blackjack table in the same room to try my luck. I started off at $1,000 and won 11 of 13 hands (eight 20s and 3 blackjacks), eliminating my baccarat loss and bring my $8,000 worth of starting chips to just over $27,000.

    I tipped the dealer $500 and took my $27,000 in chips to another baccarat table to try my luck and, as soon as I sat down at the empty table, one of my favourite dealers sat down as relief. I lost the first 4 hands and was down $10,000; 3 of the 4 hands I lost to were natural so no chance to even draw. I decided to bet $10,000 on player and $500 each on the pairs and the tie. I got my cards and saw that I had two no-siders so there was a chance for a pair. I asked the dealer to expose the bank cards and they were 8-8 for 6 and bank pair. I slid the cards over the dealer to ask him to expose and he opened up a 3-3 for 6 for the player, giving me both pairs and the tie, for a total payout of $15,000.

    The reason I stated this was one of my favourite dealers is that he, on the same table on a previous trip, dealt 9-9 vs 4-4 with $500 across for the same $15,000 payout. This time, the dealers were on all three for $25 each for a total of $825 ($750+$75).

    I played the remainder of the shoe which was pretty choppy with no pairs or ties but won more hands than I lost. By the end of the shoe, I was at $42,000 so I returned the $20,000 marker and walked away with a $22,000 win, bringing my trip total to $127,100.

    Some more friends and associates flew in private and we met up at around 5pm and gambled a bit together (not rated, $100-200 a hand). At around 9pm, we went upstairs to get ready for our 930pm reservations at SW for dinner, which was again impeccable.

    Given the different offerings at the Wynn and Encore, I feel that SW is pretty well priced (of course, dependent on your choice of wines, etc); for 11 people, with wine, bottled water, appetizers, main courses and a few shared desserts, $1,800 seems pretty reasonable, given the service and quality you get. After dinner, we decided to hit XS for a few hours with a table beside the dance floor. I have been to XS many times but I have never seen it this busy (I guess, Friday night of Memorial Day weekend, etc).

    I left XS around 4am and decided to go back to playing some PGP. I bought in for $5,000 which I lost quite quickly; I bought in for another $5,000 and spent the next two hours finally getting back to even for the session.

    Saturday

    Still awake from Friday night and at the PGP table, my friends BBMd me at 8am to find out where I was so that I could check them in for their 9am tee time at the Wynn golf course.

    Got back to the room at around 11am after some more pai gow poker and planned to take a 60 minute nap; instead, I woke up at 4:30pm, quickly got ready, called for a limo to take us to the MGM Garden Arena for the UFC fight. With a bit of traffic, got there around 5:30pm, just in time to catch the last three prelim fights. Met shifter at the arena and decided to meet up with him after the fight to play some baccarat at the Mansion casino.

    Got to the Mansion casino at around 9:15pm, took out my $2,200 worth of chips I had from Wednesday night and took out a marker for $25,000. I quickly noticed my host and he introduced me to the ‘guy with the rascal’; I started thinking about what his deal was and what sort of ailment he had, only to see him dancing around and high-fiving the entire table after every win. Shifter sat down and we had a pretty choppy run of cards. I was quickly down around $8,000 but won a few hands in a row and decided to call it and head back to the Wynn. I had $35,000 in chips so I redeemed my $25,000 marker and went to the cage to get cash for the $10,000 winnings and return my $25,000 front money by wire transfer.

    I asked my host at MGM to arrange a limo to take us to the Wynn as we wanted to go to Mizumi for some teppanyaki. When we got to the main entrance, the limo and female limo driver were waiting. I am not sure how best to recount this journey to the Wynn but I now refuse to ride in a female limo driver’s car; calling it a rough ride would be a compliment, with three very distinct ‘almost’ accidents, lol.

    Anyways, we made it to the Wynn, walked by the 100s of people in line for Tryst and had a pretty decent meal at Mizumi. We ordered from the a la carte menu as well as teppanyaki; while it’s the same old Okada with a new name, the service seems to have improved, in my opinion.

    I ate way too much at Mizumi and was in dire need of a nap but as we walked out, we ran into some friends who insisted we join them at Tryst (so much for the nap). We were in the club within five minutes and had an excellent table right above the dance floor. At around 3am, I started to get bored and decided to leave; shortly thereafter, my friends left and we met up in the room for a few drinks, before calling it a night at around 5am.

    Sunday

    Woke up around 10am, after five hours of solid sleep, and decided to go to Society Café for breakfast. By the time we ordered, it was almost 11am and, while everyone else wanted breakfast, I did not. I asked for a shrimp cocktail (specifically ensuring it was properly cooked, because the one I got the day before was definitely raw) while the others got eggs and waffles, etc.

    We hung out by the Encore pool for a bit, smoking cigars in the heat and admiring the ‘scenery’.

    Went to Stratta for an early dinner with some friends before they left for the airport; I was supposed to meet up with some other people at Wing Lei but I could not keep my eyes open. By 9:30pm, I was already in bed.

    Monday

    I woke up this morning at 10am, after sleeping for more than 12 hours.

    I took a shower, ordered some room service and met up with my colleagues who were leaving at 1pm. After they left, I started to think about what I wanted to do with my last 5.5 hours before leaving for the airport.

    Being up $134,900 at this point, I definitely did not want to give it back but I also wanted to gamble, so hence the dilemma. I bought in for $5,000 at a baccarat table at the Encore high limit room and played for an hour (full shoe), winning some very lucky hands and turning my buy-in into $17,100 and bringing my trip total to +$147,000.

    I went to Wazuzu for a very quick meal, consisting of some shrimp ebi sushi, thai basil chicken and two glasses of a fairly-decent Riesling.

    I went back up to the room at 3:30pm, finished packing, took a shower and sent my bags down so I could settle up with my host and the cage, etc. My host was on the Wynn side so I while he walked over, I finished up my ‘business’ with the cage, wiring back my front money as well as verified winnings, etc.

    My host, who only does domestic players, said that since he now has a copy of my Asian passport, he can get me the benefits of the international marketing program, including higher airfare reimbursement, etc but for some reason, this trip, all he could is $2,000 in reimbursement, because apparently they require $200,000 in front money (which does not seem correct to me, I think it is only $100,000).

    Observations

    1. Total rated time 18:18 (+10 hrs unrated, playing lower stakes and stupid games like Crazy 4 poker with friends) at $2,236 average, playing baccarat, blackjack and pai gow poker.

    2. Actual win $147,000 vs. Theo loss $27,600 = $174,600 differential

    3. I am a ‘fighter’ and typically tend to fight (baccarat) streaks, which has often worked out oh-ever-so-poorly for me; I tried to stop doing that this trip and I think I like this ‘way’ much better!

    4. Over the past few trips, my comp ratio has been 27%, 29% and 30% of theo but this trip, it was around 35%, which makes sense due to the 2BR salon suite for six nights, an extra resort room for three nights, golf for two and some larger dinners, etc.

    5. I was a bit caught off guard regarding the $2,000-only airfare reimbursement; even if my comp ratio were to exceed 40% with a higher airfare reimbursement, I have historically very low-to-normal comp ratios so I figured it wouldn’t be an issue.

    6. Based on my calculations, including wagers won, we dropped around $6,300 into the toke box.

    7. Last five trips -68,000, +45,000, +54,000, +119,000, +147,000 for a running total of +297,000; just plain, ol’ luck that will run out sooner or later but $300K in gambling profits is dangerous for a 28 year old!

    8. I rented a car from Hertz at Encore for the duration of the trip and I used it twice but I think its pretty useless for me; even my host even laughed at me. I live in Asia and I usually make a trip to Walmart to get stuff I can’t buy in this part of the world and make a few boxes which last a few months so that’s the logic behind the rental car; well, Walmart and the Primm outlets but I think I’ll just risk looking like an idiot by asking to take a Limo (or Phantom, LOL) to Walmart instead!

    Thanks for reading!!! :)
     
  2. ckatsu

    ckatsu Tourist

    Joined:
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    Thank you for taking the time to post a great trip report! Sure nice to get glimpses of what life is like on "the other side".
     
  3. irmster

    irmster Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    I've never had tax deducted from me at Wynn with slot wins (and not a US resident).

    If you think BA is crappy, you clearly haven't tried the direct Virgin flight,given you were coming from London.
     
  4. UKFanatic

    UKFanatic The Arbiter of Taste Caviar Kid

    Joined:
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    Great run over your past five trips! But two feet on the floor?? I have never heard that. maybe its because I'm short and at the taller BJ tables, my feet won't even touch the floor, lol
     
  5. Royal Flusher

    Royal Flusher Savvy Gambler

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    Very enjoyable read, and some nice wins! Thanks for posting.
     
  6. Tubbs

    Tubbs High-Roller

    Joined:
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    Another top gambling TR and a very nice win.

    Was this your first time with BA in Club World or was this the last straw? Were you on the main deck or upper? I think main deck is fairly ordinary as far as Business Class long haul is concerned but upper deck is nice and quiet. Of course First is much nicer! :thumbsup:
     
  7. irmster

    irmster Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Absolutely. I am in 64k for my LHR-LAS flight in August. Will be a sad day when the 747s are no longer. Business class on the 777s on BA is pretty ghastly.
     
  8. natedog666

    natedog666 17 and 20 Expert

    Joined:
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    Very nice win! You blew them away considering your theo. Keep the streak going....

    I think I will start betting more on ties and pairs, since it seems that they can bring you back sometimes...
     
  9. shifter

    shifter Degenerate Gambler

    Joined:
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    nice win and glad you took some from MGM as well.
     
  10. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

    Joined:
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    Limo to Walmart - Love it.
     
  11. dfalk

    dfalk VIP Whale

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    I'm 28 and it would take me like 3 years to make what you won in 6 days!! Wanna be my friend??
     
  12. MikeE

    MikeE The Shah's Slightly Hairy Cousin

    Joined:
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    Man, we probably walked passed each other in the ETS lobby several times and didn't even know it.

    Excellent report. Sounded like the pit boss was sweating her job. Maybe a newbie at Encore? Can't imagine why she'd sweat an extra $5 for the dealers when they share the tips.

    I counted about one line in that entire report where you actually mentioned a loss. Congrats on the huge win!
     
  13. heatherlovesvegas

    heatherlovesvegas VIP Whale

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    Haha ditto!

    I'd love to see some of these places someday. the Mansion, Skylofts, the 2 bedroom at the Wynn. Amazing!

    Sounds like a great trip!
     
  14. shifter

    shifter Degenerate Gambler

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    $2k airfare on 27k theo seems a bit low, but not too bad. last trip i had about 33k theo and got $2900 from MGM. but then again i also got to keep the $4200 in express comps i earned and Wynn doesn't have anything like that. so i figure i made out pretty nicely.
     
  15. JillyFromPhilly

    JillyFromPhilly Tourist

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    Two trips to Aria vs. five-and-a-half years playing at Wynn, I'd have to say Wynn is far stingier on airfare than MGM, so that doesn't surprise me.
     
  16. avarice13

    avarice13 Tourist

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    irmster
    > I think slot wins are only deducted at $1,200 and above; also, I am not sure (maybe someone else can chime in) but is it possible to avoid a deduction if you provide a US ITIN?
    > I haven’t flown the VS LHR-LAS flight but, compared to other airlines, in my opinion, even EK/EY/QR/SQ business class outclasses BA first class.

    Tubbs
    > I stopped flying BA around 10 years ago and I tried them for the first time since; I was on the upper deck (I think it was 63K) for LHR-LAS and first (1A) for LAS-LHR. There are so many better options these days that just bypass Europe entirely 

    MikeE
    > She was definitely NOT a newbie at Encore; she’s been very pleasant on other trips

    shifter
    > Wynn’s been alright in the past, especially because I can now qualify for the international player program but I hope this was just an isolated incident. I wasn’t over-comped and am still going back and forth with my host regarding the issue; will revert if I get anything other than some BS response, LOL
     
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