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The Casinos of Chicagoland, 4 New trip reports!

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Trip Reports' started by Grid, Jul 14, 2017.

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  1. Grid

    Grid Well-Known Member

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    My Trip Report

    Photobucket hijacked my blog and they are holding all of the pictures in my older reports for ransom right now. I'm hoping they come to their senses, I used 2 accounts to host my pictures there over the past 6 years, so it would cost me $800 a year to get my embeds back.

    But all is not lost! I have been working on a new wing on my website called "The Casinos of Chicagoland" and I just finished my 4th Trip Report.

    The intro to the new section is here.

    https://sites.google.com/site/lvgrid/home/the-casinos-of-chicagoland

    But if you want to skip ahead to the trip reports, my feelings wont be hurt.

    Blue Chip Casino, Michigan City Indiana
    https://sites.google.com/site/lvgrid/home/trip-report-blue-chip-casino-michigan-city-in

    Four Winds Casino, New Buffalo Michigan
    https://sites.google.com/site/lvgrid/home/a-day-at-four-winds-casino
    &
    https://sites.google.com/site/lvgrid/home/trip-report-four-winds-with-kids

    Potawatomi Casino Milwaukee Wisconsin
    https://sites.google.com/site/lvgrid/home/trip-report-potawatomi-hotel-casino
     
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  2. saintpauljeff

    saintpauljeff VIP Whale

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    how much did you have to play to get a free room at Potawatomi? I'd rather pay $200 for the room vs. lose $1000+ to get it free (I never win anything at slots so I no longer play)
     
  3. Grid

    Grid Well-Known Member

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    Everyone looks at things differently I guess. If you had to pay for a basic room there on the weekend (when I go) it is $259 a night. Plus taxes & fees that makes it $300.00.

    I go to gamble, not to gamble enough for a room. I just like that my room comes with it. My average coin in there is about $8K. That gets me $75.00 in free play and most weekends they have a $50 bonus + a $25.00 dining credit + the points I earn on my card that I can turn into more free play. On $8K of coin, that is another $40 ($2.00 per point, 1 point = 1 penny in free play).

    That doesn't mean I have to lose $1,000 to get a free room. I can easily win and still get my free room!

    Throwing luck aside, $8K of coin in on slots (assuming 92% payback, 8% hold) is a loss of $640.00. Sometimes I lose that, sometimes I win that. That is the gamble. But assuming the math is infallible, and I will lose $8.00 for every $100 of coin through the machines (that is where I came up with $640 in losses) I would still get a $300 room comped (basic room) + $125 in free play + $40 in point play + $25 in dining credit = $490 in value for my $640 risk.

    I hope that helps! If you just pay $300 for your room, you'd still want to gamble right? Once that room is paid for you will be -$300, so you are already starting from behind.
     
  4. Grid

    Grid Well-Known Member

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    Major casinos will give a third of your expected losses back as comps. Locals, in markets with a ton of casinos, can and do give back more. You just need to know how to hit them.

    An average casino in Vegas might have a rack rate of $99 for a weekend (Mirage, ti, Monte Carlo, Luxor ETC) you would need an average loss of triple that to get a room free for the night. But locals way overvalue their rooms, they want to pack them with players and not paying people that wont gamble. So the vale of the room is higher but not reflected in the comps.

    So in some cases it might actually be better to play for your room. Add in some days with bonus slot dollars, very common at your local casino. And you can swing that math ever further away from that 35% return on loss.
     
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  5. eliza

    eliza VIP Whale

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    Thanks for the trip reports and the insights on comps at locals. I may be in the area for work in the near future and it's great to learn about the options. I vote keep the midwest gambling reports coming.

    I know you are mostly a slots guy, but do you happen to know anything about the VP paytables at any of the Chicagoland or Michigan casions?
     
  6. Grid

    Grid Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the vote! I do play VP, they just don't make for a very sexy story. Blue Chip should be your best bet. Boyd casinos are usually fair with that stuff.

    They have a big Video Poker selection, probably more than anyone in the immediate area. Bonus Poker at 98% & Deuces Wild can be found at 98.9%. Both flavors $.25-$1.00 denom. Lots of the older Game Master cabinets and plenty of the newer carnival style poker.

    If you have the bankroll, $1-$5 denom at Four Winds has 99.6% Triple Double Bonus, Double Bonus at 98.9% & Bonus poker at 99.2%. But only a handful of machines and they are always booked, unless you are there very early.
     
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  7. eliza

    eliza VIP Whale

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    Thanks! This is really helpful!
     
  8. Richard Alpert

    Richard Alpert LOST

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    Great intro and reports, Grid! :thumbsup:
    The Pot is on my to-do list if I ever make it back to Milwaukee.
    For the others I'll have to plan my travels carefully--so I don't lose too much of the BR at toll booths on the way there! :D
    Thanks for sharing!

    RICHARD
     
  9. lithium78

    lithium78 VIP Whale

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    Thanks for the trip reports. I'm interested in casinos in other parts of the country since Vegas has been giving me fewer reasons to fly across the country to visit them. Trip reports like these are really informative.
     
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  10. saintpauljeff

    saintpauljeff VIP Whale

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    I'm definitely not gambling long enough to put 8k coin through, not to mention I've never won anything on a slot machine (going through $500 on WOF in a 1/2 hour was enough to kill my interest years ago) so I stick to table games, and they aren't getting me rated much LOL. So yup I'm one of those ppl paying for their room :peace: (maybe not at Potawatomi, but in Vegas for sure)
     
  11. dmr

    dmr Registered Abuser

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    Thanks. Those are all I've never tried, although those look to be a fairly long drive from Chicago.

    The best I've found in the area is Horseshoe Hammond. I've also been to Ameristar (very "ok"), Harrah's Joliet (ditto), Grand Victoria (so-so), and Rivers (Totally sucks, or is it blows? Make that blows and sucks at the same time!).
     
  12. Grid

    Grid Well-Known Member

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    True that on the Tolls! Just to get to the Horseshoe Hammond, the closest to downtown Chicago. Its $5.00 each way on a 15 minute drive! The Pot is very nice, large and worth the effort to get there. Just double check to make sure there is not a festival going on when you visit. The entire area turn into a clusterfuck since there are no "real" streets. The fairgrounds, the casino and everything nearby is built on former factory land. So traffic flows suck.

    Thanks for reading them! Chicago casinos alone aren't worth the trip. But Chicago itself is! If you are looking for a vacation, flights into the city are pretty reasonable. Stay downtown and hit the museums, take a river tour of the architecture, go shopping on the magnificent mile and THEN hit up a casino to spice things up. A lot of casinos run shuttles to and from the downtown area if you dont have access to a car.
     
  13. Grid

    Grid Well-Known Member

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    For sure! Paying rent in Vegas isn't that bad. Paying rent at a Chicagoland casino can be down right insulting. For the price of a room at the Pot or Four Winds you could have a suite at the Venetian for a couple nights.

    Suck or blow for the Rivers, one in the same. The casino is just filled with sadness every time I stepped foot in there. I have never been in a casino with so many people, and yet it be so quite.

    Ameristar, for me, was very disappointing. As soon as we parked and got inside the main area leading to the casino was very impressive. Open space, new faux storefronts with places to each ETC. As soon as we headed up the escalator into the actual casino, they lost me. It is just a gutted out old riverboat with slots squeezed in wherever they could. Low ceilings, cramped areas and super tight escalators inside. If you made it that far, the Four Winds is just 40 minutes down the road. Worth the effort!
     
  14. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

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    I love getting to the Horseshoe (usually when I am stacking comps... a buffet with a points multiplier and some free play, though depending on what the Sunday giveaway is I'll drive down for that, too).

    I don't take the Skyway to the Horseshoe, I stay on I-94, get off on Stoney Island, then take 106th St over. I will also occasionally take I-290 east, then US-41 south (the new bypass on the south side bypasses some dicey areas).

    Adds a few minutes to an already long trip, but I don't keep much $$ on my IPass, and I don't want to lose it all to a toll. I usually will take the Skyway home, because either (1) I've won enough money to justify it, (2) I've lost enough to want to get the hell out of there and (3) 106th St can be pretty sketchy at night.
     
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  15. Chicken Dinner

    Chicken Dinner Low-Roller

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    Thanks for sharing. You did as well as can be expected with all that coin in.
     
  16. dmr

    dmr Registered Abuser

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    Hey, speaking of Chicago area casinos, one thing that I did not really understand I saw at (I think?) the Harrah's Joliet.

    As I was leaving I seem to remember a "hand stamp required for re-entry" sign and there were a few lining up for it. I didn't pay any attention 'cuz I was not planning on returning, but WTF? When I entered I think I just walked right in, with no sign-in or ticket or pass or anything. Why couldn't someone just walk right in again? What's that all about?
     
  17. eliza

    eliza VIP Whale

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    In IL, the casinos pay the state a certain amount of tax per person that enters the casino. I'd assume that this is their way of tracking how many new entries to the casino they get versus how many people are going in and out multiple times.
     
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  18. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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    Years ago they used to charge ($3???) to go in. I went to the one that isn't Harrahs around 1994. Mom & I would have gone more often (its about a 5.5 hr drive) if kids could stay in the hotels. We'd swap & take turns playing. However it states no kids allowed. So they lost any weekend trips for us. We just never went back till last July.
     
  19. leo21

    leo21 VIP Whale

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    The Illinois casinos have to pay admission fees to the state but when the state raised the fee for a couple years, Harrah's very dramatically passed the fees onto guests. The fee is more reasonable but now Harrah's very dramatically encourages getting hand stamped so you can reenter the casino without them paying an additional fee. When you are coming from the hotel or the steakhouse, it's a convenience to guests to use the other exit but some of the ways they lash out at the state is embarrassing to their image.
     
  20. Grid

    Grid Well-Known Member

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    Finally got around to adding pictures, trips reports and reviews to this section. I plan on taking a day trip to the rest of the Chicagoland casinos and build, from what I can tell, the first comprehensive overview of the market.

    I need to add Hollywood Casino Aurora & Hollywood Casino Joliet, Grad Victoria in Elgin, & the Rivers in Des Plaines and be done on the IL side. Then just Majestic Star twins in Gary & Ameristar in East Chicago and IN will be done.
     
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