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The Bartenders Love Me. A CaptainJack Trip Report.

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by CaptainJack, Mar 8, 2015.

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  1. daveg000

    daveg000 VIP Whale

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    Love your report! Great Skill.

    I have two questions about your walk to see NYNY and Monte Carlo façade, since I will be staying at NYNY in a couple weeks.

    1.) Are they finally finished with the construction on the strip?
    2.) Are the shops they are going to put in between NYNY and Monte Carlo finished enough that you can walk between the hotels without having to walk to the strip?

    TIA
     
  2. dannyocean

    dannyocean High-Roller

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    Great report, CaptainJack! This is the sort of enjoyable ride that I need a glass of wine to enjoy as I read ... continued good luck!
     
  3. momnkid

    momnkid Tourist

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    Please, some more? Work is making me sleepy, your report energizes me!
     
  4. archie

    archie Tourist

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    nice hits,looking forward to the rest of the report.
     
  5. kankan53

    kankan53 Low-Roller

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    Loving this trip report!!!

    I am going to have to try Javier's in April just for the salsa. What are a couple of good things to order?
     
  6. abrolsma

    abrolsma Low-Roller

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    20K hit.. x2.. and you think no one would be interested in reading about your trip? ;)

    Seriously, thanks for the first installment and for taking us along for the ride. There really is no mundane trip to Vegas - though it may seem repetitive - there are lots of us half asleep at work following along. :)
     
  7. jpw711

    jpw711 Is that your cat?

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    Hoping part two will feature two more of those pretty pictures.
     
  8. CaptainJack

    CaptainJack Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Time for Part II, thanks to everyone who has read this far. I'll answer any questions after I finish the TR.

    Wife's Birthday & Planet Hollywood

    Today was my wife's birthday, so we started the day with a room service breakfast. It was a nice relaxing way to start the day. The waiter setting up our table in the room mentioned the snow on the mountaintops outside Vegas and that if I had been here a week earlier it was even more vibrant. "Oh, I was here a week ago and you're right." As an aside, the week before I was in a very nice suite overlooking the strip in the Mardi Gras tower of Harrahs. Really the nicest room I've ever had at Harrahs and I highly recommend those rooms. You can see the Bellagio Fountains and the Mirage Volcano do their show at the same time. There seems to be about 6-8 of them on the left side of the hallway on floors 19-22 of that tower...might not be an easy get, but worth it. We had booked a massage for my wife at the Aria spa for 1pm, but after breakfast we walked over to check into the room at Planet Hollywood. I'm really not a fan of Total Rewards and they're increasingly become no fan of me. I plan to continue to milk my comps from them until they decide to fully cut me off. This stay at Planet Hollywood was $1750 freeplay and a $250 F+B credit. We checked in quickly, hit the cage to get our $1750 in Reel Rewards and I gave $500 to my wife to go have fun with while I cycled through the rest on VP. She loves Build-a-Wheel (as some of you might remember from my past reports...I don't hold the same affinity for the game anymore, it's brutal). I fully expected that $500 to last maybe an hour on BAW before being depleted. After 2 hours of play, I had turned my $1250 into $950 via various machines and she had remarkably turned her $500 into $750 by consistently winnings small amounts on BAW (remarkable because BAW is largely feast or famine). I walked her back to Aria to check her in for her massage and I returned to Planet Hollywood to give them a bit more action. In the end, I earned 2500 tier credits (about $25k coin-in) and my net profit was $1100 (not including my wife's score). Take that Total Rewards!

    Another Strip Walk and Finding a Gem
    My wife felt great after her massage and we decided to walk north up through Linq grabbing a few beers at casino bars along the way. By the time we got to Linq I was looking to get down on an NBA game that tipped off shortly. I enjoy betting NBA Totals and typically wager $500-1000 per game. I tend not to find time to actually watch the games, it's more of a short-term investment. I make an opinion, find out who offers the best price, and then get my money down hoping to be pleasantly surprised when I check the result later that night. On this trip I did lousy, going 1-3. Anyway, shortly after making the wager at Linq's small sportsnook (too small to be a sportsbook) we walked through Linq and came across Bar 3535, which is a mixology bar located just off the hotel check-in area. After a few light beers that day, I was in the mood for a good cocktail. To my surprise, this place made as good a cocktail as any of the higher-end places on the strip like Mandarin Oriental or Cosmopolitan. Even better, there are bar-top machines. If you are a Diamond or Seven Star member and you are playing the machines, any specialty cocktail is comped. If you are not Diamond or 7*, there is a $2 up-charge for the specialty drinks. IMO, $2 is worth it for a drink that takes 3-5 minutes to make. The bartenders seemed very good at what they did and I kind of felt like borrowing a line from another Billy Joel song by asking "What are YOU doing HERE?!?" Bar 3535, check it out if you enjoy a fancy cocktail at a not-so-fancy price.

    Picasso
    Dinner that night was at Picasso in honor of my wife's birthday. Picasso is a special place to us. When we first started dating I took her to Vegas and we had a dinner at Picasso, she remarked at the time it was the nicest dinner she's ever had. The experience at Picasso is second-to-none. If you're not even someone who appreciates fine art you'll still appreciate the impeccable service and incredible food. When we walked up for our reservation they immediately wished my wife a happy birthday. We were escorted to exactly the same table we had on our first visit there 6 years ago. My wife thought I planned that, but it was just coincidence. Unlike our first visit when Coach K of Duke was seated at the next table, there were no celebrity sightings this time. We chose to have the Signature Tasting menu with the wine pairings. Our sommelier was great. Unfortunately, since we both chose to have the Bass, it was 5 pairings of white wines and my wife prefers reds. Other than that, everything was absolutely perfect. When dessert came, the staff included a special message to my wife.
    picassodessert.jpg

    After dinner, we opted for a couple more drinks at the Petrossian Bar at Bellagio. One of our favorite Bellagio pianists, Whitney Phoenix, was on the ivories and it was just a perfect way to end another perfect day. We both opted for specialty cocktails that we enjoy having every time we spend time at Bellagio. My wife had the Bellagio Cocktail and I had the Tennessee Highball. Here's a picture my wife took of Whitney and her drink (which really is as tall as it looks).
    petrossian.jpg

    After our drinks, and since I knew I was well over my daily $350 F+B limit, I chose to pay for our tab using my Express Comps. After a few minutes the waitress came back and said the card couldn't be read. That was odd, but my wife had another copy of my card on her so she handed over her copy. A few minutes later the waitress returned with the same message. They offered to go to the Players Club and get me a new card, but at this point I thought something was fishy so I offered to just pay cash instead. After the lounge, I put my card in a nearby slot machine and while it recognized me, it stayed flashing green and said "looking up your record." Hmmm...had I won too much? We went back to Aria and I visited the players club there to find out they were "doing maintenance" on the system, that's why my card couldn't be read. Also, if I put it in a machine and it flashed green or didn't recognize me, don't worry, it's still recording points. BTW, it was only 11pm at this point, I found it odd that they'd do maintenance during prime gambling hours. Since I hadn't played all day at Aria, I decided to hit the bar tops and give them some action. I played for roughly an hour and won $1000. My wife was tired and we decided to call it a night. When we got back to our room, this had been delivered from my host:
    champagne.jpg

    Beware of Maintenance
    Each morning when I get up in Vegas I check my stats from the previous day. With MLife it's pretty easy as you can check how many tier points you've earned since the previous day if you keep track of your totals. Well, on this day I discovered that despite their assurance that my play was being tracked during the maintenance window...it was not. My numbers were identical to the day before. Since I won money and it was only about $20k coin-in, I decided to let it slide...but let that be a lesson...don't play during maintenance windows. This lesson would help me out later that night. I was woefully behind on my coin-in goals at Aria at this point, having given them just 180k coin-in over 3 nights...about 120k behind where I normally am. I was still up about $35k at this point and to be honest I thought about just quitting while ahead and paying the price in reduced future comps. I went downstairs and played at the bar for a while. There would be no more royal luck, but I did get very quad-happy during that session, gaining about $2500 in the session and re-stimulating my desire to keep gambling.

    Stripwalk Further North
    I asked my wife if she was up for a walk all the way to the Riviera to say goodbye to the old girl before she closes in a couple months. She seemed up to it...she also reminded me she had never been there...so it would be hello/goodbye in one. We made good time since we didn't stop for beers and brought water with us. It's been about 10 yrs since I was last at the Riv...I'm glad I didn't miss much. It was still as dirty and dingy as I remembered. Our visit to the Riv lasted maybe 8 minutes. I got a beer while there and then as we left I decided to symbolically pour one out for the Riviera on the sidewalk in front. Just as I tipped the bottle, a local vagrant shouted "Hey, I'll drink that!" So instead of pouring one out...I handed off the beer. He'll probably piss one out later on the same sidewalk, so it's pretty much the same. Since my wife had never been to this part of the strip, we crossed over to Circus Circus for a quick lap and then into the even more depressing Slots-a-Fun. I once played $1 BJ (paying 3:2 mind you) back in my first visits to Vegas years and years ago. It's all machines now though...well, machines and this odd game in the middle of the casino:
    slotsafun.jpg
    My guess is that Slots-a-Fun offers staring contests for money.

    Back to Wynning
    From there we headed over to Wynn. I knew Wynn had the best line on the NBA game I wished to bet that day (this would be my only winner) and my wife enjoys playing at Wynn. We had about 3 hours to kill before we needed to get ready for our dinner at Craftsteak that night so I decided to give Wynn some action in hopes of garnering future offers. My wife set out to repeat her luck on the Wonka spinning reels machine (note to others...never try to repeat your luck on a slot), I opted to play $1 10-line 7/5 Bonus Poker to rack up points in a quick way. About five minutes in, here comes royal #3 for the trip...
    RF3030315.jpg
    It was clubs this time and a nice $4000 payout. I text my wife and she's not impressed, she said she'd down $500 on the Wonka and moving to Megabucks (uh oh, this never ends well). I told her to make sure my card was in the machine and good luck. I opted to bump my game up to $2 10-line so I could get my action in before her inevitable tap-out. After about 20 minutes, I got dealt 3 Aces and connected the 4th ace on not 1, not 2, but 3 of the 10 lines. Here's your slot porn:
    Aces.jpg
    The pop-up window obscures one of the quad aces, but the astute eye will surely notice that on the two visible, both had a 3 kicker. I'd never be playing DDB for those stakes so it doesn't affect me, but if that one makes you cringe, then check out this hand I got in AC back in December:
    aces2.jpg
    Anyway, after another hour of play I decided I probably had given them sufficient action for a tease play and set out to find my wife. Luckily, Megabucks had been relatively kind to her and she was up $100 on that machine. I decided to not even tell her about the quad aces hit, it was pretty obvious she was tired of me constantly winning. I convinced her that it was probably a good time to head back and we took a cab back to Aria to get ready for dinner. While walking in from the valet to our elevators, my wife spotted a machine we had played on our last cruise. It's called Dragon Bonus II I believe. It is a penny machine with 5 reels and lots of seizure-inducing flashing lights and Chinese symbolism. The game features a bonus round in which you get free spins and hope to hit orbs each worth an amount decided at the start of your bonus. We sat side by side and my wife quickly hit a bonus that paid about $11, I think her orbs were worth about $1.50 each. She followed with another bonus round that paid about $13. I was holding my own but no bonuses. Finally, I got 6 or so symbols to trigger the bonus round and it was determined that my orbs would each be worth $52! I managed to collect 10 orbs in that bonus round and collected $530 total on the bonus. I have a video of some of the bonus round, but it's really just credits racking up, not that exciting.

    Coming in Part III...
    ...time to catch up with my coin-in!
    ...dinner at Craftsteak.
    ...more maintenance at Aria.
    ...meetup with my host.
    ...profitable trip home.
     
  9. sandybeachbar

    sandybeachbar Low-Roller

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    Really enjoying your tr.
     
  10. scc31

    scc31 Low-Roller

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    How did that Royal on the first page hit for $20k? It says $4k right? Sorry, i'm a VP noob and only follow on the board. Too scared to play VP in person but put most my actions on tables and dice.

    Best,
    scc
     
  11. Fligster

    Fligster VIP Whale

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    4,000 credits, each being $5
     
  12. scc31

    scc31 Low-Roller

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    Oh, didn't see the $5. LOL. $5 bets on VP... what a monster CaptainJack is
     
  13. shifter

    shifter Degenerate Gambler

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    FYI, the $350 F&B per day isn't really per day, but $350 x # nights total credit. so it's not like you're wasting comps not doing much the first night, in fact you're saving them to splurge later.

    also at your level of play it never makes sense to pay using cash or ECs upfront. charge everything to your room.

    at the end if you go over the upfront F&B total, your host may just comp the rest, or worst case you can use ECs or pay at checkout.
     
  14. Tbone3336

    Tbone3336 VIP Whale

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    Outstanding report captain! Absolutely love the pictures and the details. Oh and also really love the dream hits on VP, congrats, looking forward to Pt 3.
     
  15. shifter

    shifter Degenerate Gambler

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    Also when you go to a place like Picasso, tell them your wife likes reds and they'll come up with a wine pairing of reds even if you're eating fish.

    The white with fish thing is incomplete. There's plenty of reds that go great with fish.
     
  16. PayTriple

    PayTriple VIP Whale

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    How much are the paintings in Picasso worth, in aggregate?
     
  17. CaptainJack

    CaptainJack Low-Roller

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    The maître d told us $120mil in aggregate I believe.
     
  18. broncofn

    broncofn VIP Whale

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    Awesome report so far cap!! Looking fwd to the rest!! Great hits!!
     
  19. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Great stuff so far! Awesome royals!
     
  20. CaptainJack

    CaptainJack Low-Roller

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    Here's the final installment along with a wrap-up of the numbers at the end.

    Craftsteak
    Dinner that night was at Craftsteak at MGM Grand. It had long been on my list of steakhouses to try. It didn't disappoint. I got the NY Strip, my wife got the Filet Mignon, our friends both got surf and turf. We also over-indulged in side dishes...I think we had 7 side dishes for 4 people. My friend is a professional poker player and was planning to work all night following our dinner, so he didn't drink. I only had one cocktail and my wife a glass of wine. Even so, our final bill was near $500. He's a Noir card holder and we had agreed to split it 50/50 with our available comps. At dinner we noticed that Dan Blizerian was seated at the table next to ours. For those of you who don't follow poker, that name will mean nothing. He's currently the "playboy of poker" and his jetset lifestyle is the stuff of legend.

    Time for Some Serious Coin-in
    My main reason for scheduling dinner at MGM was to hit the multiline $5 9/6 Jacks machines they have. I needed about $180k coin-in to catch up to my expected levels for the trip and these machines would help speed that plan. I told my wife I'd like to play for about 2 hours, that would get me about $120k coin-in and put me back on-track. Within the first 30 minutes I was in the hole by about $4k...then the quads started coming. Only one at a time, which helped avoid slowing me down with W2G's. In the second half-hour I stormed ahead $2k. In the third half-hour I hung closer to even and was feeling very satisfied at getting the coin-in relatively cheaply. Then came the turn...this is what casinos wait for when they've got a high roller on a heater...eventually it'll end and he'll give it all back. Even playing 3-lines, I was whiffing hand after hand. At $25 per hand x 3, whiffing like that can burn through $1000 in roughly a minute. I started to feel that burning sensation on the back of my neck...my head was involuntarily shaking in disgust as each hand played out more pathetically than the last. That 4th half hour stretched into the 5th and the 6th before I finally decided enough was enough. $6500 had been pumped into that machine in just under 3 hours and the credits showed 0 remained. I went and found my wife who was tired of getting lost everywhere she turned in massive MGM. We cabbed it back to Aria.

    Saved by Maintenance
    We got back to Aria around 11pm and during that brief cab ride up the block from Aria I somehow got my second wind. My result for the trip was currently +$36,500 and in my mind I figured I was much closer to $40k than $30k so why not take a quick stab at getting to $40k...I doubt I could repeat my performance from MGM, and even if I did...well, that's still +$30k. I got another strap out of the safe and headed straight for an old nemesis...$5 Triple Spin Poker outside the high limit room at Aria. Maxbet on this bad boy is $25x27 = $675 per spin. I'm not crazy enough to play that (although I have slipped up and hit max bet on occasion). I decided to play just 5 lines...although that quickly turned into 7 and 9 lines when I'd press up after a win. I loaded $1k into the machine...that lasted about 3 mins. Then another $1k, similar fate. My third load-in I put in $1500 since that made an even $10k including MGM. That lasted a while and I hit a couple handpays in the process...but within an hour, I had blown through that as well. I was all set to reload when I noticed the card reader light blinking green. Those bastards were in maintenance again! It was slightly past midnight on my watch and I'm guessing the maintenance started at midnight. I pulled my card, reinserted, same result as the night before. It didn't recognize me, just blinked green. Here I am teetering on the edge of what could be a massive TILT and Aria throws up a stop sign in the form of a flashing green light. I went over to the Players Club but they had just closed for the night. I asked a slot attendant and she said maintenance was scheduled between 12-4a that night. I told her that the night before it looked like it didn't record my play...she said she wasn't sure of how that all worked but she thought I'd be fine. This was enough, however, for me to come back off the ledge and decide that between MGM and Aria I had amassed about $220k coin-in and my numbers would be on par with my average. There's no need to keep playing...it was time to call it a day, and call it a trip. My wife was all too happy to end the day as well.

    Host Visit and PointPlay
    Our flight home was 2:30pm, so around 11am I headed down to the host office to see if my host was around. She had just arrived so we were able to catch up and review my play. I had $800 in room charges beyond my $350 daily allowance (note to Shifter: my overage charges show up per day even though I agree just giving me a bank of $1400 to work with would be easier for all). My host said she'd pickup all the non-tips except for the spa appointment which she'd take out of EC's. I'm not surprised at that and since I have a few thousand in EC's, I didn't really mind. We arranged a late checkout and a limo to the airport and then small-talked about weather and some upcoming events. I was putting feelers out there for Mayweather/Pacquio. Her non-committal response made me think it might not be worth it for me. I tend to avoid the massive event weekends. Afterwards I went over to my familiar bartops to play out my Pointplay. I had $473 in accumulated pointplay. My goal was to turn it into $500, but I wasn't going to chase to do so. I chatted with Carlito at the bar and was fortunate enough to hit a 4oak just as I finished up. +$1000 on the pointplay.

    Flight Home
    Since we were flying home between 5pm and 10pm east coast time, I decided to use the in-flight internet to make some NBA and CBB bets while we flew. This worked out well as I went 4-0 and won $2400 in the process. Made up for the lousy 1-3 stretch I had betting in Vegas. Also makes that $15 in-flight charge a business expense. :evillaugh Our flight was completely full and once we boarded we heard a lot of people saying they hoped they made it home ahead of the snow. With all my travel I had failed to notice that a major winter storm was moving in for the night of our flight home. We actually made it in a few hours ahead of the 8" of snow...but I wish I would have paid more attention as I could have pushed my flight back a few days with no change fee to accommodate for the storm. Then again...maybe 4 nights was the perfect length for this trip.

    Conclusion and Stats
    Ok, I know some of you guys geek out on these stats, so here's what I've got for you.
    Mlife play:
    Coin-in: $390,000
    Total win: $29k (+$33k trip total...+$29k at Mlife properties)
    EC's earned: $456
    Tier points earned: 394,000
    Pointplay earned: $473
    Theo Estimate: $9,750 (my host never gives me theo, but this is based on my estimates, which have proven fairly accurate)
    Comps earned: EC ($456) + Primary Comps ($2,632) = $3,088
    Comps used: Sky Suite ($450/nt) x 4 nights = $1800, Freeplay = $800, F+B credit = $1400, Room charges = $800. Total comps used: $4800.
    Effective comp rate: 49.23%

    Of course, the offer I come in on is largely influenced by previous play, so if I'm over-comped it'll generally be reflected in future offers. I wouldn't be surprised if next time my freeplay is bumped down to $500 and my F+B credit is $250/night. Until they add $10 denomination to those bar-tops, I'll probably continue to top out at $100k coin-in per day. I can't see myself putting in more time at the machines especially when there is so much else to enjoy when visiting Aria.

    Oddly enough, on the flight home I e-mailed my host asking for my final numbers. She normally provides coin-in, win/loss only. She replied back with numbers that were waaaay off what I had. I quickly went to the mlife website and the tax statement area and confirmed my numbers were correct. Her coin-in was missing $160k and her win/loss was missing about $40k of wins. Finally, it dawned on me...her numbers only included my play AFTER that mysterious maintenance window the next to last night of my trip. Her numbers had my marathon play at MGM and a few sessions at Aria, but not the first two days of my play where I hit the big royals. Since losing is always better than winning for comp purposes...I let sleeping dogs lie. I also sent her a nice thank you gift when I arrived home.

    Thanks for reading everyone...I'll answer any questions you might have...
     
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