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Skipping Las Vegas This Year

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Casino Hotels' started by dewey089, Jun 7, 2017.

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  1. dewey089

    dewey089 Guru of Value

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    For years I have been going to Vegas at least once a year. A few years ago, with so many deals and comps, I realized that I could go for over 20 days once a year rather than two or three times a year for shorter periods, and so get the best value of the airfare.

    So that has been my habit these past few years.

    Today I changed the habit.

    This year’s trip will be to Blackhawk, Colorado.

    I don’t mean to blame Vegas for their part in my decision. I understand it is just business. I suspect that a frugal guy like me won’t be missed.

    And it was a difficult choice. Had even just Boyd come over with my usual comped rooms, I would have gone to Vegas.

    And I don’t mean that I’m suggesting others should make the same decision as I did.

    However, I did think it was perhaps helpful to share all the factors that led to my canceling my airfare and hotels today and rebooking to Blackhawk, CO.

    Some of the issues are just unique to me. I can’t really embrace Vegas food the way I once did. The diabetes holds me back. There are buffets in Blackhawk. I don’t drink as much as I once did or some days at all.

    When I turned 70, I had a new midlife crisis. I realized that if I were going to see any new places in the world, I had better act instead of just dream.

    That pushed me to go to Madrid this past spring.

    And in Madrid I had a grand time.

    http://spaintravelswithpaco.blogspot.com/

    But some have to do with a radically changing Vegas, one harder and harder to work for a good, frugal deal. Comps dried up. Resort fees, Early check in fees, Obscure fees added to food and drink, parking fees, the end of really free drinks, well...you know the story.

    The last bits of gambling have faded a bit too. The live poker is less a consuming passion in my life, but those limit poker rooms are drying up.

    The free drinks are going to comps based on play.

    Full pay VP I find harder and harder to find in Vegas, and lately good pays don’t seem to generate the kind of room offers I have enjoyed, offers I was getting even just last year.

    Back a decade ago, I could play full pay double bonus at El Cortez, run just a $1000 through the machine each day, and be assured of three free nights for me and three for whoever I might like to bring as well.

    There were not resort fees clouding that value.

    Even last year play at Sam’s Town and the Orleans managed 5 free nights with no resort fee. This year all that dried up completely. Boyd changed its marketing.

    Years back I could play live poker at the Flamingo and generate cheap (under $20) strip rooms at Imperial Palace. No resort fees.

    Now, I the only deal on the strip I can get is from MyVegas, and there I have to pay the resort fee, and perhaps an early check in fee.

    Fees on the strip have just destroyed the fine, free aspects of Vegas. And prices are very high.

    Downtown once was a great hub for me, with plenty of buses, and cheap rooms. The Four Queens and the D both comped me a couple nights. Now they don’t.

    So, when I booked my trip for this coming October/ November, I could not get one free or half priced room anywhere. And when I added up what it would cost me to go, I was shocked. Last year, it cost me on average $28 per night for my rooms. That opportunity is gone. Now the best average I could get is about $70.

    American Casino Guide room deals have dried up.

    Even Laughlin stopped comping me. Their rooms are cheap, until I add in the price of rental car to get there and back.

    Last year I had 5 nights in Laughlin for a total of $22.

    No free offers from Laughlin at all this year.

    Then there was the airfare.

    Southwest stopped running the nonstop 5 hour trip from Albany to Vegas. To get there now meant plane changes and about 8 hours. To change planes in Chicago in November is a risky bet. So many cancellations, and so many delays.

    I just flew nonstop to Madrid from Boston and those flights were 7-8 hours but included a free, old fashioned meal, sometimes twice, with wine, and constant access to free movies for entertainment.

    The new nonstop Western flight from Albany is to Denver. It is cheap. I booked today for $118 each way. I have a son who lives there and is just grand to visit. Sometimes he has a friend who will rent me a car. Sometimes, he is free enough to drive me around.

    ****************************************************************

    So, today I cut my airfare price over half and my time in the air by half on a nonstop to Denver.

    I’ll visit with my son who lives there and stay a few nights with him.

    Another son will meet me for a few days in Blackhawk.

    I treated myself and booked the top of the line hotel for about $140 a night during the week, and I’ll probably rent a car for a week to stay there. Ameristar has a fine indoor heated pool on the roof and gets all good reviews.

    The rest of the details need to be worked out, and my trip will be just 14 rather than over 20 days, but my total expenses won’t be much more than my annual Vegas trips and a good bit less of a hassle. This is more upscale than I usually roll. Yet, staying with my son for five nights and grabbing a cheap weekend room in Arvada, averages down the upscale hotel price for when my visiting son shares the room with me.

    Blackhawk VP is not very good anywhere. In quarters, Lady Luck seems the best, with 9/5 JOB in quarters and 9/7 Double Bonus. As does Saratoga. Full pay JOB in dollars drops close to the percentages of quarter 9/5 JOB if I play just one dollar a spin. 98.38% as compared to 98.45%.

    Monarch has a dime game for not so ugly deuces.

    Reserve has quarter Bonus Poker.

    The VP is no good at Ameristar. I expect I will be seeding play at the Lady Luck for cheaper offers next year.

    The live poker intrigues me. I never have the bankroll for no limit, and yet the rake destroys my ability to make money at low limit.

    Colorado has a law limiting a single bet to $100. So they have a 1-2-100 spread limit game that might be in my bankroll range, if the players are conservative and not frustrated no limit players acting like maniacs.

    It also might mean that the tougher no limit players don’t come to town to play these games. It is worth investigating.

    There are eight hiking trails in the area, and the town itself is an old Western mining town with still some of that flavor.

    http://www.blackhawkcolorado.com/

    The buffets look good. There are lots of promotions for first time card folks that give reduced or free buffets. And the food choices seem pretty keen. The Monarch buffet includes a whole lobster it its evening meal.



    And then there is the factor of “utility”. This is a new adventure. This is a heated pool in winter on the roof of one grand hotel. This is a nonstop flight under 5 hours. This is a chance to touch base with my Denver son, connect him with his Chicago brother.

    So, It will be a new adventure.

    I’ll also get to see if I miss Vegas, so I know what to do next year.

    And it could become my new yearly go to destination for father/son time and a bit of gambling.

    We’ll see.



     
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  2. The Rumor

    The Rumor VIP Whale

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    100 spread limit poker is more like no limit than fixed limit. FYI.
     
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  3. Auggie

    Auggie Dovahkiin

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    The trip to Madrid looks great, thanks for sharing - I haven't read it all yet, but I am enjoying the detail and pictures.


    For the decision to not go to Las Vegas to see more of the world, thats pretty much what my wife and I did last year:

    We were going to Las Vegas 2-3 times a year and the thought was to maybe make it four times a year regularly.
    But the company I have been working with for the last few years has been giving me a lot of stock options and the expire date of them got moved up so I had to buy them or lose them... that pretty much sucked up most of our money from 2012-2016.
    In 2016 we were caught up and FINALLY we could afford to go to Las Vegas once again!
    But then it was kind of the same thing: I wouldn't mind seeing some more of the world...
    I found a three week period last summer where there were a bunch of concerts and music festivals in Europe that had bands and acts I wanted to see live, so instead of Las Vegas thats what I did.

    Not sure what we are doing this year. My wife's vacation schedule is kind of buggered up and doesn't mesh well with time I can get off work... but we might do Las Vegas for Christmas this year.
     
  4. VegasGroove

    VegasGroove VIP Whale

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    Good for you, Dewey! Your new adventure sounds great! I hope you have a blast visiting Blackhawk and spending quality with your sons.

    Please do report back, I would love to read your trip report!
     
  5. bubbakitty

    bubbakitty Doing retirement again and happily so....

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    Although this broad is primarily focused on Las Vegas trips / topics, I would hope the majority if not all of our members were not so consumed with the desert to avoid visiting other geographies inside and outside the United States.
    We too had decent offers back when we played nickel video poker and 1$ craps at Binions' back in the pre-Becky days. A friend with CET gets suites and food at Bally's and ONLY plays poker. He takes his wife who allows their status as she plies the penny machines from dawn to dusk. Not the poker.
    Las Vegas is and always is changing. We will eventually be in the position of having to risk more funds than our comfort level allows to get rooms comped and most meals free or comped via "points" from our play. The powers that be won't continue catering to our .25 cent play while the $ players can't get a room or seat at a restaurant. It is inevitable. But there are many destinations which will meet our needs. And golf will replace gambling as we are just too spoiled to play the games too far below those with good odds. Change is inevitable and one must adjust accordingly.
     
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  6. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

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    Yeah, I haven't heard many posts from you recently Dewey.

    My brother also limited/eliminated his vegas trips. It is so strange, for the same air price from Hawaii he instead goes to asia (Japan and recently S. Korea). You would have thought that it would be cheaper to fly from Honolulu to vegas but that isn't the case anymore. The air carriers keep raising their fares even though they are saving on gas prices and making a lot on baggage and other fees so it isn't just vegas getting more expensive. I'm hoping that the introduction of SW to the Hawaii market will again make air travel more affordable but we shall see when this actually happens.

    And while the hotel prices in Asia are more expensive he saves money by not gambling so his trips are actually a little cheaper. He doesn't get any more comps from anyone like he used to so he takes his business elsewhere instead.



    I don't go to buffets as much because I'm diabetic. I try to stay away from all the food and limit my food intake, for me food is just GIGO so I usually eat on the cheap, especially since I travel solo most of the time.

    I'm retiring sometime before the end of this year and I will probably travel to other destinations a little more depending on how much money I have. I should be able to save enough for 2 or 3 trips to vegas (about $3k to $4k per trip) but I will probably only go to vegas once a year and some other place the rest of the time.

    As for comps, because everything is trackable nowadays I think the suits want to get the most for their buck so they aren't giving comps to the customers who don't bring a good return to them and while these customers put money into the machines I guess it wasn't enough to warrant giving them comps anymore. Hope this doesn't signal a change in Boyd mentality as the next thing that might occur downtown is to charge r..... f..... (sorry like that "bad" number in craps I won't jinx everything by saying it).

    Besides, vegas will always be around so you can always go back again when you are ready.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2017
  7. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    Enjoy your new adventure Dewey!!
     
  8. dewey089

    dewey089 Guru of Value

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    Thanks so much for your replies. I'll certainly keep in touch with trip reports if gambling is involved.
    So much of what you folks write rings true for me. My idea has always been that my gambling bankroll was the difference between what I paid for hotel and food versus what those would cost on a trip with no gambling. That way, even a losing trip would cost want a normal trip somewhere else might cost.
    With prices going up so much, and comps drying up, there was really not much surplus for a bankroll in the trip I planned for November.

    On the 1-2- 100 spread limit live poker game.
    I'm pretty familiar with playing a similar 1-1 no limit game with low buy ins in Ocala Florida and at Mohegan Sun, Connecticut. At the Sun I can only count on that game on weekends and then the prices of hotels go up, or I would settle in Connecticut for my Autumn solo trip. Then it depends on whether the table has players like me who are really playing poker, or maniac players who have too much money for poker and are playing bingo. The same thing happened to our little $10 buy-in home game here. New people came and did not want to play such low stakes poker. So there was always someone going all-in preflop just to build the pot. It became a game of luck.
    Fixed limit is an entirely different game as Rumor suggests .
    But these very low staked no limit games share a couple of features with limit games. For one thing, more people tend to see the flop. I like a flop game. The Ameristar poker manager said that most people just pay $2 to see the flop in most games. he said most bets are 5-6 dollars. Bullys do come around, but that is not the pattern. I'm hoping that hundreds of dollars won't be risked as often in one hand that can turn bad on the river, a bad beat erasing profits from many prior hands. I'm uncomfortable pushing $500 in one hand so I am quite easily bluffed off what looks like second best.
    I don't expect to win a bunch of money, just perhaps some profit with good play and some luck. However, there is no max buy it, so that would allow people to sit down with more than $100. That will make it a different game than the others I've mentioned. A player who lost $500 might just buy-in for $500. Well, to really get a feel for it, I'll have to see it and play.
    Three casinos are on Poker Bravo, so I can see what games get spread. Just now at Lady Luck is a 4-8 limit game.

    ON DIABETES: I have diabetes and control it a good bit through diet. I find buffets the best place to eat because I can see what I'm getting and ask if sugar has been added. Restaurants drive me crazy with so much bread and potato. I test a couple hours after a meal and so I can monitor if anything is going awry. My funniest experience was at the Red Rock Buffet where they offered a huge selection of sugar-free desserts and I ate three. I surely thought I would pay for that. However, two hours later my sugar level was 99. I had hiked Red Rock most of the day, but that would not have overcome three normal desserts. There is a grand Indian buffet near Blackhawk. I love Indian foods, but I can't order from the menu. It is all rice and bread and full of carbs. At the buffets I ask which foods have added sugar. They usually know and tell me. Then I eat the others.
    Spain was hard. Bread came in or under or with every meal and it was the sort of bread I love. I lost some ground. But in Vegas I usually come home after 20 days of mostly buffets with a lower A1C. There Aria's buffet is the best with plenty of shellfish and veggies.
    It is true that I have not been posting much lately on discussion boards. Much of that is because I have not been spending much time in mainstream Vegas. I was either out Boulder or in Laughlin. Some of you may know I wrote the Resort Fee article for the American Casino Guide for the past few years, but I gave it up for the 2018 edition. Too many fees needed to be included, and the complicated parking fee rules were insane. Too many phone calls to make certain my information was accurate. And none of it had any bearing on my own travel. It was all about the strip and downtown which I I had abandoned.
    If anyone out there has played live poker or VP at Blackhawk, I'd enjoy hearing your evaluation. I give you mine sometime in December.
     
  9. Ty

    Ty ?

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    Last year I was getting free nights and a Gold Card at Sam's Town, now I get 2-3 nights and no food. We're likely to cut back on (but not cut off) our Vegas trips and do more stuff we can drive to. Kim keeps bringing up Walt Disney World lately.

    Have fun in Colorado.
     
  10. TableToddyy

    TableToddyy High-Roller

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    Ya, I've seen u a couple times on the Laughlin Board.
     
  11. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

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    Wow, you are good at checking your levels. I hardly test myself, usually only test about once a week. When I go to vegas I am afraid of testing myself because my numbers could be high. But actually I find that I lose weight on my trips, mostly because I am on the go all the time and moving around a lot so I can offset what I eat with the exercise I get from moving around so much.

    But I also like to eat at the seafood buffets (Fremont seafood buffet) so my other numbers (cholesterol for sure) are probably sky high on my trips.

    Nice to hear from you, too bad about your vegas trips.
     
  12. LolaDoggie

    LolaDoggie VIP Whale

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    Dewey, you've been my hero since I first started to learn about Vegas before our maiden trip in 2004. If you're giving up on Vegas, that is very very very bad new for Vegas. And we're poorer for it. But, I completely understand. Bob and I are on a break too.
     
  13. JayA

    JayA Tourist

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    I have been to a lot of casinos at a lot of different price points and Blackhawk was one of my absolute favorites. It's not remotely like Vegas but we had such a great time
     
  14. MGinCO

    MGinCO VIP Whale

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    welcome to CO, Dewey!
    See my post over at Blonde's.
     
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  15. stiles525

    stiles525 Low-Roller

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    I believe you taking a year off is sometimes helpful with the offers you get the following year. I'll be curious to see what offers you get 2018. Enjoy the time with your sons, that's what life is really about..
     
  16. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

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    Las Vegas WILL miss Dewey! His posts have been legendary around here, full of information on how "do Vegas" and save money at the same time. I hope you have a blast in Blackhawk!

    As an aside, is it just me or are there an inordinate number of recent threads/ posts about how, for whatever reason, "Vegas just doesn't do it" for them anymore. Whether it's plastic cups, resort or parking fees, club kids, regular kids, higher slot-holds, 6/5 blackjack, airfare costs, smoking, what have you... I note a lot of longtime Vegas visitors on this board reducing or eliminating trips out to Nevada.

    Now, stats indicate, there seems to be no shortage of bodies to replace them, but I'm saddened that such good and, long time customers feel burned-out or taken advantage of with regards to visits to our state.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
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  17. LolaDoggie

    LolaDoggie VIP Whale

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    My question is, how many of them are going to be repeat visitors?

    I had a casual conversation with Ted Newkirk in the chat section of Living in Las Vegas podcast (Vegas Video Network) and we talked about the "phases" of Vegas. I told him my thoughts, which I have shared here (and had tomatoes thrown at me) and he agreed. I asked him, based on his experience, how long this phase will last based on previous phases etc. How long should I expect to be waiting this out? And he said anywhere from 18 months to 3 years.

    In my mind, the clock started ticking around the start of 2016. So, it might be 2018 or 2019 before I'm realistically going back. Why the wait? Can't I afford to go? Yeah, I can afford to go. But, if they don't want me, screw them. We've been going other places and will continue to go other places. If we cycle back to Vegas fine. But, it's not a burning desire deep in my soul.

    And if somebody like Dewey is moving on for the time being, it's a sign. They don't care. But, it's still a sign. So...yeah. As I've said before, Vegas and I still love each other very much, but, we're on a break and hopefully we'll be able to work things out.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
  18. LolaDoggie

    LolaDoggie VIP Whale

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    Another thing is, how many conventions are going to keep booking? They might be committed for this year. But, if the feedback is bad, will they rebook?
     
  19. oldcrabtom

    oldcrabtom Low-Roller

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    Hope you will still be available for consultations as the bus guru !! :nworthy:
     
  20. Electroguy563

    Electroguy563 Over-Fried Gambler

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    I guess for every loyal, frequent visitor that paid homage to Vegas and is now disappointed and burnt out, there are millions of newbies pouring into the city to replace them.

    Yeah, Vegas casinos don't care. They don't have to. Best they'll do is snicker and sarcastically say: "Thank you for coming...." :evillaugh:

    Visiting other places is a good idea.
     
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