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Pai Gow Tiles trip report

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Raven888, Sep 6, 2019.

  1. Raven888

    Raven888 Tourist

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    My Trip Report

    I just got back from a 3 1/2 day trip to Vegas, where most of my gambling action involved Pai Gow Tiles.

    September 2019

    Day 1 - Monday


    Flying to Vegas. On the second leg of my flight, I stumbled into a free upgrade to first class, which I had never flown before. I didn't really take advantage of the free alcohol, because I knew I would be drinking a lot throughout the rest of the day. I did get a nice meal, though, which was served on real plates with real silverware. The extra space in the seat was obviously nice, as well.

    I reserved a limo to take me from the airport to Harrah's where I was staying. Even though it was early (11am), they still let me check in. Maybe because of my platinum status? A couple of my friends, who are not platinum, were not able to check in early and had to wait until 3pm. They also gave me a couple of bottles of water and one of those reusable grocery bags with the Harrah's logo on it, another "bonus" for being platinum status.

    The room was nothing special, but it was nice and clean. I believe they recently renovated these in the last year or two. My view was okay; I could see the Mirage and their volcano, and the back of what I think was part of one of the Venetian towers. My only real "complaint" was that the showers are this weird design that doesn't have a door or curtain, so water will definitely splash out on the floor no matter how careful you are.

    I went down to the Tiles table and started playing at $50 a hand (minimum was $25). The table was super cold and I was getting clobbered, so after about an hour I walked away $200 down. I was still tired from a long morning of traveling so I went back up to the room to relax for a couple of hours and took a nap. After that my friend and I walked over to Caesar's to check out the Tile action in the high limit room. The room itself was actually kind of crowded, mostly with Asians, and the Tile table was packed full. I felt like some of them were giving us dirty looks just for being in there (me specifically; I'm white but my friend is Asian).

    We looked around for a couple minutes then left to check out the Tile action at Bellagio. The table was empty so I bought in and started playing at $50 a hand, the table minimum. My luck was a little better here than at Harrah's and I left about 3 hours later, $80 richer. All of the dealers that cycled through were nice and friendly, and one was very impressed that a "white guy" like me knew the game decently enough. This was also my first time doing any "serious" gambling at an MLife resort, so I'm interested to see if it generates any offers. We went back over to Harrah's where we ate, and played tiles for another hour. I only played at $25 a hand this time, but the table was still cold so I lost everything I had just won at Bellagio. After that I went to bed.

    Day 2 - Tuesday

    The Tile table at Harrah's didn't open until noon, so I killed some time playing low limit slots (lost $10). I also had $100 earmarked for 10 spins at the roulette table, but being roulette, I lost most of it (-$65). After that I wandered back over to Caesar's about 10am to recon the Tiles table again. I spoke to a very nice pit boss who told me the minimum was $100 and they don't even think about opening it before noon (all of which I had heard before but just wanted to confirm), and after that I could come by and request that they open it.

    I walked over to Bellagio and the Tile table was open and empty, but for some reason it was $100 minimum (10:30 on a Tuesday morning??? Come on....). The dealer said it might go back down to $50 at noon. I thanked him and left. I knew Paris had a Tiles table so I decided to recon that, as well. It was closed, but the pit boss said it opens at noon. Minimum was $25. I went back to my room at Harrah's to regroup and rest for a few.

    Around lunchtime I walked back over to Caesar's to eat, and again check out the Tiles. At this time it was 12:30, and a different pit boss told me it "might" be open at 1:00. I said okay and went over to Bellagio, were the minimum was still $100, but there were a few people playing so I knew they probably wouldn't lower it. I left and walked over to Paris. The table was open and there was someone playing, but both the dealer and the player looked kind of tired and glazed over, so I just left and went back to Harrah's. I played Tiles for a couple of hours there, but I forgot to take notes so I can't remember what I was betting or how much I won or lost. Obviously it wasn't memorable, so I probably broke about even playing $25 a hand.

    I decided to give the Tile table at Caesar's one last crack, so I headed over there about 4:30. The table was still closed, and yet a third pit boss who had zero interest in my potential action said it "might" be open around 7:30 or 8:00. I mentally said "eff this" and walked over to the Mirage to meet my friends. We played one of those electronic roulette machines for a bit and walked around, and then went over to the Venetian to look around (I didn't play anything). Neither Mirage nor the Venetian have a Tile game anymore.

    We wandered a little bit up the Strip, ate dinner, then headed back to Harrah's. I played tiles for a couple of hours at $25 a hand, where I finally started getting in the groove and walked away +$250. After this my friends and I played the electronic craps and roulette games, which are a lot of fun and cheap to play ($3 minimum). Your money can go a long way here, and the cocktail waitresses still give you plenty of attention.

    Day 3 - Wednesday

    I woke up early and couldn't go back to sleep, so I got cleaned up and ate breakfast in my room. After I ate and relaxed a little more I managed to go back to sleep for about an hour, after which I went back down to the food court and ate some lunch.

    I had been wanting to play at Caesar's high limit room for the experience, but since they kept jerking me around with the Tile game I said "screw it" and decided to just continue playing at Harrah's. I bought in for a couple grand and started playing $100 a hand, finally breaking my black chip cherry after multiple trips to Vegas. The table was cold again and I walked away two hours later down $700...haha...so much for my "first time."

    My friend and I went to the Gambler's General Store to look around and get some souvenirs, and then we went back to the Strip to eat some dinner. We then went back to the Tile game at Harrah's and I played about 4 1/2 more hours at $100 a throw. We would bank every other hand, where I would bet $100, and then I would play two spots at $50 a hand when we weren't banking. This time we were on fire and I finished the session +$850. The dealers were great and we had a lot of fun. This final run put me +$200 for the whole trip, gambling-wise.

    Day 4 - Thursday

    I wanted to end my vacation on a high note, bankroll-wise, so I didn't do any gambling today. I hung around the room for a couple hours, then decided to head over to the Venetian. On my way over I took note that the Tile table at Harrah's was open (this was about 10:30am), when previously in the week they didn't open until noon. I walked around the shops at the Venetian, then headed over to the Wynn to recon their Tile action. They have a table that was open for a $50 minimum. This was around noon so I'm not sure when they actually open it. I didn't play, but Wynn sure does have a nice casino.

    After that I went back to Harrah's, ate lunch, and just waited for my limo to head back to the airport and go home.

    Notes and Conclusions

    I learned that Harrah's almost shut down their Tile game last year, but apparently a bunch of high rollers raised hell so they decided to keep it open, with one of the stipulations being it will never go below a $25 minimum again (last couple of times I went there it was $15 during slow periods). I still definitely want to try the Tile game at Paris; I don't know why I've never pulled the trigger on that one. I already have plans to go back next year, so maybe I'll try then if they still have it.

    Bellagio had a good tile game; I would definitely play there again, and I also really want to stay there. I was not impressed with Caesar's high limit room, on the other hand. It honestly seemed kind of cramped and not as elegant as I would have expected. With the exception of the very first pit boss I talked to, the other pit bosses seemed like they were giving me the runaround and I got the impression that they didn't really give a crap about opening the tile game unless you're "somebody," which I am most definitely not. In my opinion, Caeser's in general has a "faux elegance" to it, especially for how much it costs to stay and play there. I feel like the Bellagio and Wynn are much nicer, and I, personally, would probably even put Paris above Caesar's now, too.

    Resorts World is coming along, which I am very interested to see, but the claim that it will be open next year seems ridiculous with how much work seems to be left to do.

    I had a $3000 total (gambling) bankroll for the trip, and came back with about $3200. That amount was more than enough to sustain $100 Tile play for the 6 1/2 total hours that I played at that level, as well as all the other sessions of $25 and $50 a hand. I may even experiment with $200 a hand on my next trip if I can manage to up my bankroll a little bit by then. I'm aiming for $5000-$6000, which should be more than enough according to my calculations and personal experience. Tiles is a very slow, minimally volatile, and low edge game, so your overall bankroll can be less than required for most other games.

    The Harrah's Tile game is one of the best, and the hotel itself is not bad. It's cheap, but still nice and clean. I actually slightly prefer the Flamingo to Harrah's as far as budget hotels, but that just comes down to theming and decor. Because of how many Rewards points I had saved up, the whole stay was comped. I ate several times at the Harrah's food court, and everything was good, so no complaints there. Did not try the buffet, though.

    I did kind of a lot of drinking (for me) on the first day, but successively less drinking for each day that I was there. My Vegas trips are pretty tame, though; I didn't get into any shenanigans with women, hookers, or drunken fights, and I was usually in bed by 11:30 every night. I pretty much go to gamble, and that's it.

    P.S., I did a LOT of banking at Tiles this trip. This is something you definitely want to take advantage of, since I had several hands where having the banker's advantage for copy hands won me some money instead of resulting in a push or loss.

    P.P.S., Sorry, I don't have any pics to post. I'm not really a picture-taking kind of guy.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2019
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  2. mr.vegas

    mr.vegas Peace sells, but who's buying?

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    Thanks for the recap enjoyed the read.
     
  3. GlobalRoamer333

    GlobalRoamer333 Tourist

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    Thank you, interesting reading. Even though I haven't played Pai Gow Tiles, I still enjoyed reading this trip report. Thanks for putting your time in to write it up.
     
  4. vegasdev

    vegasdev VIP Whale

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    nice to see a sort of different TR.
     
  5. miss_sonja

    miss_sonja High-Roller

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    Fascinating! I’ve never noticed the tiles tables-I’ll be sure to look for them. I can’t play at $25 min, though, that’s for sure!
     
  6. duffer1991

    duffer1991 Low-Roller

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    Nice trip report. I understand what you mean by getting the runaround at Caesar's high limit room. I am not a pai gow tiles player, but have you considered playing downtown?

    I migrated downtown after never getting much attention when I gambled on the Strip. I will still meet people on the Strip and dine there occasionally, but I play dowtown and off-Strip.

    I am glad you came back with more than you arrived with. I will try to do the same in 2 weeks.
     
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  7. wanker751

    wanker751 Dutch Rudder Enthusiast

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    Sad to hear Harrahs up their limits on their tiles game
     
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  8. RedRiverRose

    RedRiverRose High-Roller

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    Good report. I love Pai Gow and have tried the Tiles at Paris and MGM but I just can't get the hang of it. I didn't lose much but I never understood the hands I won.
     
  9. Scottndindy

    Scottndindy High-Roller

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    Tiles not available downtown
     
  10. Scottndindy

    Scottndindy High-Roller

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    Harrahs will open tiles upon request if they shut it. Harrahs has a ton of dealers for game. Most properties will have a couple dealers per shift who can deal it.
     
  11. casinokid68

    casinokid68 VIP Whale

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    Wow, that was a different kind of a trip report. You walking around the whole Strip, looking for different tables at each hotel, in the brutal heat, got me real Tiled ( tired ) out.:snore: I have never played that game, but I rarely see anyone playing it when I am playing regular Pai Gow at Harrah's. Maybe I need to learn it.
     
  12. Raven888

    Raven888 Tourist

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    Please do. The more people play it, the better the chances of it sticking around. The dealers at Harrah's will be more than happy to teach you.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
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  13. TriggerMN

    TriggerMN The Norwegian Hammer

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    I also have never taken the opportunity to play Tiles, but perhaps one of these times I will give it a whirl.

    1st morning you were getting clobbered, and left after an hour down 4 units (for your bet size). I wish the clobberings I take could be so gentle!! :D
     
    Yo tengo un Diablo grande en mis pantalones
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  14. Raven888

    Raven888 Tourist

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    Yeah, I guess it wasn't really a "clobbering." It's just that it was the first hour of my first day, so felt worse than it really was....haha... not my favorite start to a trip.
     
  15. toastcmu

    toastcmu Tourist

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    Interesting that the tiles table was not 24/7 at Harrah's - is this just a weekday thing, or did they say it was all the time now? Most of my time there I play early in the morning due to jet lag....
     
  16. Raven888

    Raven888 Tourist

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    I'm not sure; I didn't ask.... I usually only go there early in the week so it might just be Monday to Wednesday that they're not open 24 hours.
     
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  17. wanker751

    wanker751 Dutch Rudder Enthusiast

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    October, you me tiles Paris...

    You have homework.

    https://wizardofodds.com/play/pai-gow-tiles/
     
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  18. YOleven

    YOleven Tourist

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    Thanks for the great TR, Raven888!

    I had always been intrigued by Pai Gow Tiles, and a couple of years ago I picked up Michael Musante's Pai Gow Tiles book which I would certainly recommend to anyone interested in learning the game. I'm by no means an expert, and while I have a pretty good grasp of the basics, I do still need help with some of the exceptions...and there are many! It can be a little intimidating at first for a newcomer, but fortunately my experiences in Vegas have been great. I usually play a few sessions each trip at Aria or Bellagio, and the dealers have always been happy to help if I have any questions about setting my tiles the house way. As such, I usually prefer playing during non-peak times when I'm the only player, although I've had great experiences, even as a novice, playing at tables with others. Usually, the regular players are often encouraging and even seem to be appreciative that there are non-Asians who enjoy learning and playing the game.

    One of the things I find most difficult about the game is learning when to play an 8 or 9 as opposed to balancing the low and high hands. A dealer at Aria once summarized the strategy as playing tile pairs in the following order...
    • Pair
    • Mixed pair
    • Wong
    • Gong
    • Pair that adds up to 9
    • Pair that adds up to 8
    • Play highest tile with lowest tile to "balance" high and low pairs
    Of course, there are certainly many exceptions that figure into basic strategy, but many times I can play a hand properly using these basic rules. However, there are often times where I'll think that playing a 9 or 8 is proper strategy, while the house way is to actually give up the 8 or 9 and play the highest tile with the lowest tile to "balance" the pairs. That's what I struggle with the most, so I'm curious if there's a trick to determining which is better in a given situation, or if it's just a matter of becoming familiar with the many exceptions.

    It can certainly be a challenging game for a newcomer, but maybe that's why I find it so interesting. Plus, the slower pace and frequent pushes definitely help preserve the bankroll.
     
  19. Scottndindy

    Scottndindy High-Roller

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    Tiles is a game in which the dealers house way is not the optimum player strategy and to play that way is not optimum. Wizard of Odds is great about teaching when to increase the high hand instead of keeping a chong three low hand. Generally if you can't make 5 in your low hand you increase your high hand which is very different than house way. I have been playing Tiles for about 8 years and I still learn new things everytime I play. I find this game to be the top game in the casino to play. I love it!
     
  20. hammie

    hammie VIP Whale

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    Thanks for the write up, it sucks that Caesars gave you the run around about opening a table.

    For what it’s worth, Caesars Atlantic City has Pai Gow tiles, I saw a game going on one afternoon, a full table. I believe they still have an Asian game room as well. Sic Bo is mentioned on the website too. Both Harrah’s AC and Bally’s AC show Pai Gow tiles as being available on the website.